SHEBOYGAN, WI—The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Nemak USA Inc.—based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin—for exposing workers to metalworking fluids used on aluminum after three employees were diagnosed with occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a debilitating lung disease. The company faces penalties of $26,520 for two serious health violations, the maximum penalty allowed by law.
OSHA initiated an inspection at the company’s automotive aluminum castings manufacturing facility in August 2018 after receiving a medical referral. OSHA cited the company for failing to protect the employees from exposure to airborne metalworking fluids during machining operations, and failing to evaluate respiratory hazards.
“Employers using these materials in their production must ensure that good hygiene practices are followed, and fluids are properly managed to protect employees from potential lung damage,” said Appleton Area Office Director Robert Bonack.
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.