Lancaster Plant Workers Risked Heavy Metal Exposure
Investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have fined a Lancaster battery recycling plant for failing to fix previous safety violations that exposed workers to dangerous heavy metals.
The company faces $74,250 in fines for nine violations. In 2012, the Lancaster battery-recycling company was fined for many of the same problems. According to the company, it had spent $500,000 trying to fix previous safety violations. Officials with the company claim they have made significant investments in training and education programs, and that it is constantly refining safety protocols.
The company cracks open batteries to get at the metals inside. After the metals are collected, they are melted down and further separated. Many workers are wearing full-body suits and other equipment to reduce the dangers of exposure. Two of the metals found inside the batteries are cadmium and lead, both of which are highly dangerous.
Investigators have determined employees were overexposed to cadmium and lead. OSHA officials have told the company to improve ventilation and air filtration.
How Can Heavy Metal Exposure Affect Workers?
Heavy metal exposure can cause harmful health conditions, some of which could cause permanent injuries to workers. Cadmium poisoning can cause kidney dysfunction, anemia, lung problems, abdominal cramps and fatigue. Lead poisoning can cause vomiting, seizures, impaired consciousness and brain injuries.
Workers injured by chemical exposure might have options to receive workers’ compensation or other benefits. Contacting a workers’ comp attorney will let injured workers discover what options for compensation are available to help them recover.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC – Columbus Workers’ Comp Attorneys