Bridge Coating Firm Fined for Lead

A Florida-based industrial coatings contractor is facing $58,800 in federal fines after receiving 13 serious citations alleging excessive lead exposures during abrasive blasting.

Atlas Steel Coatings Inc. president Louis Alfieri said Tuesday (Jan. 27) that his company would contest the citations and fines announced Monday (Jan. 26) by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“Our tests concluded that at no time on the project, were Atlas employees exposed at or above the PEL,”Alfieri said. “Our tests also concluded that no employee’s blood lead level came close to the PEL before, during, or after blasting on the project.”

OSHA inspected the site, the Philema Road Bridge in Albany, GA, on July 23 in response to a complaint about conditions there.

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OSHA is alleging a variety of serious lead hazards on a bridge rehab project in Albany, GA.

Atlas Steel is rehabbing the bridge, according to OSHA. No other project information was immediately available.

13 Citations

The 13 serious citations allege a variety of lead-related hazards, including:

  • Failure to monitor or determine lead exposures for employees conducting abrasive blasting lead-based paint inside containment;
  • Insufficient or no respiratory protection for workers who were cleaning up lead-containing abrasive blasting residue and moving the contaminated containment enclosure;
  • Lack of carbon monoxide monitoring for respirators used during abrasive blasting;
  • Lack of a written respiratory protection program;
  • Lack of medical evaluations for bridge painters;
  • Lack of personal protective equipment, including clothing, safety glasses, helmets and gloves, for workers doing abrasive blasting and cleaning up blasting residue;
  • Not providing a change area, separate eating area, showers or washing facilities for employees abrasive blasting lead paint;
  • Not requiring employees who wear their own PPE to remove it before leaving the site;
  • Lack of lead training for abrasive blasters and employees doing lead removal; and
  • Lack of engineering controls and vacuuming in abrasive blasting containment.

Other-than-serious citations allege failure to conduct forklift training and failure to notify workers in writing of their blood lead test results within five days.

Serious violations reflect life-threatening hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

Taking Lead Home

“This employer not only exposed its workers to unsafe levels of lead but it also failed to take any precautions required to prevent workers from transferring lead contamination to their homes or families,” said Robert Vazzi, director of OSHA’s Savannah Area Office.

“OSHA holds employers accountable for correcting conditions that threaten worker safety and health.”

Privately owned and headquartered in Brooksville, FL, Atlas Coatings provides a range of surface preparation techniques and coatings services for Gulf Coast tank farms, power plants, process plants, petrochemical refineries and transportation agencies

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