- Associated Press - Saturday, May 23, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal judge has found the owner of a Kansas City foundry in criminal contempt of court for refusing to allow a federal inspection required after a worker was found to have high blood lead levels, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

Darrell Stone, owner of Martin Foundry, was found in criminal contempt after resisting an April court order to cooperate with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which was responding to a report of an elevated blood lead level in a foundry employee, the Labor Department said Friday.

Stone and representatives from Compliance Professionals, which worked with the foundry on safety compliance issues, were ordered to pay $10,000 together to reimburse the department. They were also fined about $1,000 for failing to cooperate, and three consultants also had to pay $2,000 fines for refusing to comply with the warrant for the inspection.

“We believe it’s really the first time in OSHA history that a company was found in criminal contempt for not allowing OSHA inspectors to inspect after a judge’s order,” Labor Department spokesman Scott Allen said in an email.

OSHA tried to inspect the foundry in March after state health officials notified the agency that a recent test showed that a foundry employee had high levels of lead in his blood. Excessive lead in the blood can cause serious health problems, including anemia and damage to the brain and kidneys, according to the department.

The department said after Stone refused to allow the OSHA inspectors in, inspectors returned with a warrant to complete the inspection and were once again refused entry. Once OSHA initiated court proceedings, the agency inspectors were able to complete the inspection, which Allen said is ongoing.

Stone denied preventing OSHA from inspecting the foundry, and said Friday that it was his blood that had been shown to have excessive lead. He said he told the OSHA inspectors the high level was his own, and that he felt the elevated level was from regularly handling shotgun shells, and not from the foundry, which makes brass and aluminum castings.

“I think they overreacted,” Stone said. He said he was also cited in 2013 for contaminated air at the foundry, but he took steps to fix that problem. Stone said he has also since changed to a no-lead brass at the foundry.

Compliance Professionals could not be reached for comment.

More than 50,000 U.S. workers die from occupational exposure to lead, asbestos and other substances, OSHA said in a release.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide