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Region 5 News Release: 12-755-CHI
May 1, 2012
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:        312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Johnson Controls Battery Group
for exposing workers to lead, other hazards at Holland, Ohio, plant

HOLLAND, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Johnson Controls Battery Group Inc. for 11 alleged health violations - including one willful and two repeat - following an Oct. 25 inspection that was initiated based on a complaint. Inspectors found workers overexposed to lead at the company's Holland plant due to a lack of engineering controls and poor housekeeping practices. Proposed fines total $188,600.

"Johnson Controls Battery Group has a responsibility to protect the health of its employees by assuring they operate in a manner to eliminate or minimize lead hazards and other hazardous substances used in the work environment," said Denise Keller, assistant area director of OSHA's Toledo Area Office. "Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health."

The willful violation is allowing workers to sweep lead particles with brooms and brushes, which can result in greater lead exposure than the preferred method of vacuuming. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The first repeat violation involves employee exposed to lead over the permissible exposure level The second repeat violation involves inadequate housekeeping in the pasting department. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule