The dangers of worker exposure to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen that can cause serious long-term health issues, including lung cancer and kidney failure, should have come as no surprise to the Lane Plating Works Inc. owner.
Air-monitoring tests showed workers were suffering from overexposure to the dangerous toxin, but he failed to correct the hazard.
As a result, the Dallas-based chrome plating shop is facing a fine of $110,200 for two willful violations and 19 serious violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“Workers had dangerous chemical residue on their clothing and labored in areas where unsafe levels of hexavalent chromium dust were found on work surfaces,” said Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s area director in Dallas. “By failing to address these hazards, Lane Plating Works’ endangered the health and well-being of its employees and their families who were exposed when their loved ones came home with contaminated clothing.”
OSHA initiated the complaint inspection under its National Emphasis Program for Hexavalent Chromium.
Investigators found two willful violations and issued a citation and $56,000 penalty for failing to use controls to reduce employee exposure to hexavalent chromium and to monitor the chemical periodically.
The 19 serious violations, with a penalty of $54,200, were for failing to institute controls to reduce and maintain levels of hexavalent chromium below the permissible exposure limits and to train workers on the chemical’s hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known exists.