The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Milwaukee Valve Company Inc.of Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin for exposing employees to lead and copper dust at rates higher than the permissible exposure levels. The regulator has proposed $171,628 in penalties to the industrial valve manufacturing company.

Following a July 2019 inspection, OSHA cited the company for failing to implement adequate engineering and work practice controls to reduce employee exposure to lead, and train foundry employees on the hazards of lead and cadmium exposure. OSHA also cited the company for violations related to respiratory protection, as well as walking and working surfaces.

"Chronic exposures to lead, copper and other metal dusts can result in long-term health issues, such as lung and nervous system damage," said Chad Greenwood, OSHA's Madison Area director. "Employers must provide personal protective equipment to employees working with toxic metals, and take appropriate steps to minimize worker exposure."

OSHA's lead and cadmium webpages provide information on the health effects from exposure to these metals, and options for controlling 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.