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Grede hit with $50K in fines
BROWNTOWN - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Monday, March 31, it has cited Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC for three violations, including one repeat for failing to evaluate worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust, at the Browntown iron foundry.

OSHA initiated the complaint inspection in November 2013. Proposed penalties total $50,600.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

"Grede Wisconsin compromised the health of its workers by failing to monitor properly for inhalation of crystalline silica dust, a known hazard," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Employers have a responsibility to monitor worker exposure to known hazards and to take precautions to limit exposure to potentially fatal elements."

A similar violation was cited at the Browntown plant in 2012.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the past five years.

OSHA reported worker inhalation of silica particles can lead to the development of disabling lung diseases, such as silicosis and cancer.

Two serious violations include improper ladder caging and failing to provide proper eye protection. 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.

Grede Wisconsin employs about 200 workers at the Browntown facility, which specializes in producing castings in ductile and gray iron. It is operated by Southfield, Mich.-based Grede Holdings LLC, which has 21 facilities in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

The 2012 inspection at the Browntown plant cited 28 violations. Because of the inspection, the company paid $133,000 in penalties.

Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC could not be reached for comment.