Carcinogen Exposure Costs Co. $193K in Fines

Painting aircrafts exposed these workers to a known cancer-causing chemical–and their employer to large safety fines.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Spirit Aerosystems Inc. – based in Wichita, Kansas – for exposing employees to carcinogen hazards. The company faces penalties of $193,218 for two repeated and four serious violations.

OSHA alleges the company failed to implement feasible engineering controls to limit employee exposure to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, and conduct periodic monitoring of employee exposure. OSHA also alleges the company failed to establish protocols to ensure that employees remove contaminated personal protective equipment and clothing before leaving the work area.

OSHA also alleges the company failed to prevent exposure to hexavalent chromium during aircraft painting and allowed the accumulation of hexavalent chromium on surfaces and failed to ensure that employee respirators fit properly.

“Inhaling excessive levels of hexavalent chromium can cause asthma, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and respiratory system,” said OSHA Wichita Acting Area Office Director Ryan Hodge. “It is important for employers to take the appropriate steps necessary to prevent excessive exposure.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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