A global metal manufacturer, developer, and supplier has been ordered to pay more than $340,000 in an asbestos case involving 11 workers. The manufacturer was also ordered to pay $200,000, the maximum penalty, for violating a provision of the Clean Air Act. The more than $340,000 was awarded for future medical monitoring for mesothelioma and similar lung conditions.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources investigated this case. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office jointly prosecuted the case for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
In a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Brad Ostendorf, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program for Region 5, said, “It is well known that asbestos exposure is hazardous to human health. If materials containing asbestos aren’t handled safely – and legally – workers and the community can be placed at great risk. EPA and its partner agencies are committed to protecting both the environment and public health.”
The exposure occurred in 2012 at the company’s foundry in Berlin, Wisconsin, where management “Negligently ordered numerous employees to remove asbestos-containing insulation material from the roof of an inactive industrial oven. The work on the oven released chrysotile asbestos fibers into the air.” The release went on to say that the company “failed to provide the workers with adequate personal protective equipment, or follow standard asbestos abatement procedures, placing the workers in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.” Further, federal prosecutors say company managers did not tell the workers that they would be working with asbestos-containing materials.
As part of the plea agreement, the manufacturing company acknowledged that it negligently exposed its employees to asbestos. In 2015, the Berlin foundry closed, following years of complaints about exposing workers to numerous health hazards.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Though there is no cure for mesothelioma, early detection often leads to offer better treatment options and outcomes.
"Corporation Pays Maximum Fine in Asbestos Exposure Case." FOX6Now.com. Tribune Broadcasting, 13 Jan. 2018. Web. 05 Feb. 2018.
Makowski, Elizabeth. "Corporation Convicted of Criminal Negligence in Grede Foundry Asbestos Exposure Case." United States Department of Justice. United States Department of Justice, 12 Jan. 2018. Web. 05 Feb. 2018.
"U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA Cites Grede Wisconsin with 9 Safety Violations during Follow-up Inspection at Berlin, Wis., Iron Foundry." Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). U.S. Department of Labor, 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 05 Feb. 2018.