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· STATE OF CALIFORNIA-HEALTH AND WELFARE AGENCY PETE WILSON.

Governor
'
.:,
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH BRANCH (OHS) �
2151 Berkeley Way, Annex 11, Third Floor �
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 540-2115
Fax (510) 540-3472

July 5, 1996

David Wesley
Regional Director of Operations
CNB Technologies
2700 South Indiana Street
Los Angeles, CA 90023-0957

Dear :tvir. Wesley,

Our policy is to work cooperatively with employers who are improving health and
safety conditions in their workplaces. However, if serious problems are not
addressed in a timely manner, we are obligated to make referrals to Cal/OSHA for
enforcement action.

Since vve initiated contact with your company in December 1994 in follow-up of an
employee blood lead level of 6 ug/dl, we have repeatedly requested that the
company produce a lead compliance plan for those areas in your plant where
airborne exposure levels exceed 50 ug/m3 . This is require.cl by Cal/OSHA GISO
§5216 (e)(2). We have been given repeated assurances that this compliance plan
would be completed and forwarded to us, however we have yet to receive a
document that substantially complies with Cal/OSHA requirements.

It is crucial for your employees' health that your company produce, and begin to
implement, a written lead compliance plan. If we do not receive a written
compliance plan which substantially complies with §5216 (e)(2) by Tuesday July 16.
1996. we will be obligated to refer your company to Cal/OSHA for enforcement
action. You may reach us by fax at (510) 540-3472.

Sincerely,

p�Yl,f-0--
Barbara Materna, CIH, Ph.D., Chief
Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

cc: see attached


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D. Wesley
_,-,.. GNB Technologies
; July 5, 1996
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Page 2

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cc: John Smith


Senior Vice President
GNB Technologies
P.O. Box 64100 ·
St. Paul, MN 55i65

Tyrone Avendano
Industrial Hygienist
GNB Technoloo-ies
0
2700 South Indiana Street
Los Angeles, CA 90023-0957

Angel Pena, M.D.


Telegraph Medical Clinic
6538 Telegraph Road
City of Commerce, CA 90040
1 818 951 3098 1995,07-12 10:08 *1441 P.01
FROM :GNB INC

G N B TECJ{NOLOGT�
AUTOMOTIVE PARTS DIVISION
14500 NELSON AVE.
CITY OF INDUSTRY. CA 91749
(8 I 8).336-4571
FAX(818) �61-3098

To; Ma . bar:tx:lva. (V1cd:ernAFax:


Re: Pages: .3
CC:

DUrgent DForReview 0 Please Comment D Please Reply D Please Recycle

• • • • • •

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FROM :GNB INC 1 818 961 3098 1996,07-12 10:08 1*441 P.02

T E- C H N O L O G I E S

Ms. Barabara Materna


Chief Occupational Lead
Poisoning Prevention Program
Dept. Of Health Sen,ices (OHB)
2151 Berkeley Way Anne:c 11 3rd. Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704

RE: Your Letter of July 5, .1 996, "Written Compliance Plan"

Dear Ms. Materna.,

Thank you for your inquiry concerning our·wri.tten Lead Compliance Plan. As you rec�ll, we had
furnished ri copy to your office which essentially contained all requirements except for the specific
engineering controls and their proposed dares of installation.

Since our meeting with you we asked Lake Engi.n eering, a nationwide consultant for the smelting
industry, to update .ind review their recomm�dations to assist us in upd;1.li..ng ow- compliance plan.
Following the issue of their report, we held a meeting with them to review all feasible engineering
controls which showed promise of reducing le.id espouse to below Ca.1/OSHA's PEL. It is hoped that our
current exposures can be reduced.

During this same time period Cal/OSHA conducted an industrial hygiene inspection of our facility.
During the inspection they concluded that we did noL update our compliance plan and issued a gcnernl
citation # 119873 50 to meet with Mr. Kramer the Cal/OSHA District Manager in the Pico Rivera Office.
On Wednesday, July 24 one of the issues v.•e will be discussing is the ,ompliancc plan which has been
completed. W � will reviewing the plan with Cal/OSHA and "'ill incorporate any suggestions that they
offertoimprnveiL

We �ill forward a copy of the program to you after Cal/OSHA l1as had the opportunity to review it and
we will incorporate any suggestions that the)· might want to provide.

Please cnll me if you have any questions or need additional information.

Sin�cly, . : .-,
j)/jul /e_,/JJlJ/L
Dave Wesley f \.
Regional Director of Operations

cc: see anached

GNB T..-chnologies
Recycling Division
P.O. Box 23957
2700 South Indiana. SITc,ct
Los Angclc:;, CA 90023-0957
U.S.A.
Telephone: I.213.262.1101
facsimile: 1213.266.1817

I\ P.,nflc Th:mlnn Comoanv


FROM :GNB INC 1 818 961 3098 1996,07-12 10:08 1*441 P.03

July , 1996
page2

cc: John Smith


Senior Vice President
GNB Technologies
375 No.nhridge Rd.
.At.lantt,. GA 3 03 50

Mariano Kramer
District Manager
Dq>artmcnt of Industrial Relations
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
9455 E. Slauson Ave.
Pico Rhi� CA 90660

Silvia Ross
Regional Human Resource Manager
GNB Technologies
14500 Nelson Ave.
City of Industry, CA 91746

Ty A\.·cndano
Industrial H:rgi.enist
GNB Technologies
2700 S. Indiana St
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Dr. Angel Pefia


Telegraph Medi"3.l Clinic
6538 Telegraph Road
City of Commerce, CA 90040

GNB Tecru:,oloeiM
.Recycling Division
P.O. Box 23957
2700 South Indi,ma Street
Los Angeles. CA 90023-0957
U.S.A.
Tel,:phone: 1-213.262.1101
facsimile; 1213.266.1817
State of Califp�nia Pete Wilson.Governor
Department of Industr1a Relations
Division of Ocupational Safety and Health
9455 E. Slauson Ave.
Pico Rivera, Ca. 90660
Phone (310) 949-7827 Fax (310) 949-9860
Index 4042, Region 4, District 2

7-26-96
Barbara Materna, PhD, CIH, Chief
Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention
Program
Department of Health Services
Occupational Health Branch
2151 Berkeley Way, Annex 11, Third Floor
Berkeley, Ca. 94704
Re: GNB Inc.
1197873560
Ms. Materna:
We are in receipt of your referral and attachments. An inspection has
already been conducted by this Division relating to the issues you
have raised. The attached citations have been issued and we are in
the process of reviewing GNB's corrective action proposals. We will
notify you of the results.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter any further,
you can reach me at the above number.
Sincerely,
�o //n_'
Mariancf�amer
District Manager
Pico Rivera

cc: file
Luis Ramon Mireles, Associate Industrial Hygienist - Pico Rivera
Bob Garcia, Regional Manager - Los Angeles
Dan Shipley, Sr. Safety Engineer - Region IV
Dennis Keith, Sr. Industrial Hygienist - Region IV
Joyce Simonowitz, DOSH Medical Unit - Los Angeles
STATE OF CALIFORNIA-HEALTH AND WELFARE AGENfY PETE WILSON, Governor

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH BRANCH
2151 Berkeley Way, Annex 11, Third Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 540-2115
FAX (510) 540-3472

Mariano Kramer July 18, 1996


District Manager
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
Department of Industrial Relations
9455 East Slauson Avenue
Pico Rivera, CA 90660

Re: GNB Technologies


2700 South Indiana Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023-0957; (213) 262-1101

Dear Mr. Kramer:

In response to our request, you recently sent to us a copy of the Cal/OSHA inspection
files for GNB Technologies - Recycling Division. We are following GNB because of
several cases of lead poisoning among their employees in the Recycling Division. In
reviewing the Medical Unit Report (Memorandum dated November 29, 1995 to Luis
Ramon Mireles, Pico Rivera Office, from Bernice Jackson, Medical Unit Los Angeles) we
noted a statement concerning the Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program's
investigation of elevated blood lead levels among GNB employees that needs clarification.

In the summary of what Cal/OSHA representatives were told by GNB staff concerning
our investigation (page 2, paragraph 2) there is a statement, "Investigation reportedly
implicated a lead-glazed pottery bean pot with measured lead content of 37% as the major
source of the second worker's elevated BLL." As it appears in this context, the statement
could easily be interpreted to mean that the OLPPP investigation identified the bean pot as
the source of lead overexposure.

We want to be very clear that at no time have we concluded that this or any other GNB
employees' elevated BLL was due to lead exposure outside the workplace, including the
bean pot mentioned. The employees being referred to worked in the Maintenance
Department and the Smelting Department. The average exposure in Maintenance was 241
ug/m3 (range 5.0 ug/m3 - 1347 ug/m3 ) and in Smelting, 908 ug/m3 (range 5.0 ug!m3 -
5241 ug/m3 ) (air monitoring data for the first three quarters of 1994 supplied to us by
GNB).
Mariano Kramer
DOSH
July 18, 1996
Page 2

We have never discussed a bean pot with GNB. If GNB's own investigation identified an
employee's lead-contaminated bean pot as the source of overexposure, the company did
not inform OLPPP of this finding during any of our plant visits or in writing. Based on the
air monitoring data and our discussions with GNB staff, we concluded that the most likely
source of the overexposure was workplace lead exposure.

Sincerely,

6��1Y'r�
i Barbara Materna, PhD, CIH, Chief
Occupational Lead Poisoning
Prevention Program

cc: Ana Maria Osorio, MD, MPH, Chief


Occupational Health Branch
California Department of Health Services
2151 Berkeley Way, Annex 11
Berkeley, CA 94704

Bernice Jackson, MD, MPH


Medical Unit - Los Angeles
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
Department of Industrial Relations
3550 West Sixth Street, Room 409
Los Angeles, CA 90020
S TATE OF CALIFORNIA-HEALTH AND WELFARE AGENCY PETE WILSON, Governor

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH BRANCH
2151 Berkeley Way.Annex 11, Third Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 540-2115
FAX (510) 540-3472

Mariano Kramer July 18, 1996


District Manager
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
Department of Industrial Relations
9455 East Slauson Avenue �·
Pico Rivera, CA 90660

Re: GNB Technologies


2700 South Indiana Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023-0957; (213) 262-1101
\\r(l.,..-e'('
Dear Mr. Rivera:
I.
I am writing to refer the company listed above for enforcement action by the Division of
Occupational Safety and Health. The Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
(OLPPP) is responsible for investigating cases of elevated blood lead levels (BLLs)
reported to the State by analytical laboratories to ensure that conditions in the workplace
that resulted in elevated BLLs are identified and corrected.

Our policy is to work cooperatively with employers to help them come into compliance
with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) lead regulations.
However, we sometimes find it necessary to refer employers to Cal/OSHA when the
employer fails to comply with existing regulations and places their employees at risk for
lead poisoning.

Enclosed is a summary of our interactions with GNB and copies of all correspondence
related to our investigation of this secondary lead smelter. These materials document our
attempts to get GNB to implement essential improvements in workplace health and safety
and the company's response to our recommendations. I briefly outline here the continuing
concerns which lead us to request that enforcement action be initiated at this workplace.

We first contacted GNB in December of 1994 when we received a report of a BLL of 62


ug/dl for an employee of the GNB battery recycling plant in Los Angeles. Based on
information gathered during our investigation of this initial case and two additional cases
of lead poisoning; we suspect that GNB may be in violation of several important areas of
the lead standard, most importantly the requirement that employers develop a written
compliance plan which includes a timeline for implementation of engineering controls.

We have repeatedly requested that the company provide us with a lead compliance plan
for those areas of the plant where airborne exposure levels routinely exceed 50 ug/m3 .
M. Kramer
Division ofOccupational Safety and Health
July 18, 1996
page 2

Despite repeated assurances that this compliance plan would be completed and forwarded
to us, we have not received a plan which substantially complies with Cal/OSHA's
standard.

The lack ofa written compliance plan that clearly outline;· GNB's strategies for coming
into compliance with the PEL and includes a detailed schedule for implementation ofthe
plan is particularly critical in this case. All three ofthe employees who were lead
poisoned, and a majority ofthe employees with elevated BLLs, work in departments
where airborne exposures consistently exceed the PEL. GNB has not controlled employee
exposures to below the PEL through engineering and administrative controls and relies
extensively on respiratory protection in these departments, as well as other areas ofthe
plant. It is clear in two ofthese cases that a failure in respiratory protection played a
major role in the employee's overexposure and su�sequent poisoning.

As laid out in the summary, it is clear that GNB has had ample time to implement our
recommendations, including the development ofan adequate compliance plan. In light of
the on going, serious lead exposures (as evidenced by the multiple cases oflead poisoning
in this facility) and the potential violations ofrequirements ofthe lead standard, we are
referring this company for enforcement action. We would appreciate being informed of
the response to this referral and receiving copies ofany correspondence or inspection
reports regarding this company. Ifyou have any further questions, please feel free to call
me at 510/540-3481. Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely;

f��
Barbara Materna, PhD, CIH, Chief
Occupational Lead Poisoning
Prevention Program

Enclosures

cc: See next page


M. Kramer
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
July 18, 1996
page 3

cc: Ana Maria Osorio, MD, MPH, Chief


Occupational Health Branch
.,·· •·
California Department of Health Services
2151 Berkeley Way, Annex 11
·�·
Berkeley, CA 94704

John Howard, MD, MPH, Chief


Division of Occupational Safety and Health
California Department of Industrial Relations
P.O. Box 420603
San Francisco, CA 94142-0603 1.

Frank Ciafolo, PhD


Deputy Chief Health and Technical Services
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
California Department of Industrial Relatrons
P.O. Box 420603
San Francisco, CA 94142-0603

Gerald Niesler
Regional Senior Industrial Hygienist
Division of Occupational Safety and Health
California Department of Industrial Relations
2100 East Katella Avenue, Suite 125
Anaheim, CA 92806

/
SUMMARY OF OLPPP INVOLVEMENT WITH GNB TECHNOLOGIES
(July 18, 1996)

December 1994

On 12- -94 OLPPP received a report of a BLL of 62 ug/dl for an employee of the GNB
battery recycling plant in Los Angeles (blood sample·taken 11- -94). Luz Soluaga
interviewed the employee on 12- -94. The employee reported that he was not
trarisferred to a non lead exposed job until 12- -94. Keir.en Hipkins interviewed Dr.
Angel Pena, GNB contract physician. He stated that he was notified of the 6 ug/dl BLL
on 12- -94 (approximately 5 weeks after the sample was drawn) and did not see the
individual for a medical exam until 12- -94. Patricia Coyle interviewed Elllie Fitzgerald
(plant nurse) and Roger Smith (Health and Safety Manager) about the index case and
GNB's lead safety program on 12- -94. GNB staff reported that the worker had been
removed from exposure and transferred to a non-leaded area of the plant. GNB
concluded that the cause of his high BLL was his failure to wear appropriate respiratory
equipment while welding (case worked in Maintenance Dept.I of plant).

Information gathered during the interview and a review of GNB BLLs (quite a few above
40 ug/dl) raised our concerns about GNB's overall lead safety program.

December 29, 1994

Letter to GNB requesting additional information including:

• 12 month BLL and ZPP histories for all GNB employees grouped by department and
shift.
• air monitoring results for previous 12 months and written compliance plan.
• protocol for investigating cases of elevated BLLs and systematically evaluating BLLs
and ZPPs in light of air monitoring data.

Due date January 30, 1995

January 31, 1995

GNB's reply to our letter received along with the additional information requested. Our
review of the information provided confirms our concerns about GNB's lead safety
program. Compliance plan and medical surveillance plan are seriously deficient; written
respiratory protection program is confusing and inconsistent; GNB has no protocol for
systematically reviewing BLL, ZPP, and air monitoring data. We decide that a site visit
would be helpful.
April 11, 1995

Barbara Materna and Patricia Coyle visit the GNB plant and meet with management,
medical staff, health and safety staff, and a union representative. Meeting is followed by
walk through of plant.

June 16, 1995

Comprehensive letter sent by OLPPP to GNB which identifies 5 areas of their lead safety
program where significant improvement is needed: 1) CQ!Ilpliance plan; 2) evaluation of
environmental monitoring and medical surveillance data; 3) respiratory protection
program; 4) medical surveillance; 5) coordination of health and safety staff and activities.
In this letter we provide GNB with our analysis of the air monitoring and BLL data they
sent to us in January. The analysis shows that 25% of the GNB workforce had one or
more BLL above 30 ug/dl in 1994. It also shows that the workers with high BLLs work
in areas of the plant where air levels consistently exceed the PEL. We request a meeting
with GNB staff to discuss our recommendations in these areas.
1.
August 3, 1995

GNB replies to our June letter. After revieV(ing the material submitted, we are still
concerned that the lead safety program has serious deficiencies. A site visit is scheduled
for August 9, 1995 to discuss our ongoing concerns.

August 9, 1995

Onsite meeting is attended by Barbara Materna, Peter Scholz, Karen Hipkins and Patricia
Coyle and GNB management including the corporate Vice President and a union
representative. Although some issues are clarified there are outstanding problems.
Specifically:

• Compliance plan is still inadequate. Does not include an implementation schedule for
feasible control measures identified by Lake Engineering (1989 and July 1995).

• Written respiratory protection program is not consistent with what GNB has told us
verbally about the basis for respirator selection.

• Written medical surveillance program needs revision. GNB also needs written
standardized procedures where Ms. Fitzgerald's and. Dr. Pena's functions overlap.

September 19,1995

Letter from OLPPP to GNB detailing our concerns listed above. We request that GNB
provide us with copies of all revised plans when complete (compliance, respiratory,
medical surveillance, standardized procedures). GNB had previously told us that the

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revised Compliance Plan would be available by the end ofJanuary 1996. GNB forwards
to us revised respirator and medical surveillance plans. The revised medical surveillance
plan still has serious deficiencies.

October ,1995

We receive a report of an elevated BLL (6 ug/dl) for a GNB employee who works in the
Smelting Department of the recycling plant.

November , 1995 -:,·

We receive a report of an elevated BLL (6 ug/dl) for an employee ofGNB's lead oxide
plant in Commerce. Karen Hipkins interviews Dr. Pena on 11- -95.

November 28, 1995

Peter Scholz and Patricia Coyle interview Ty Avendano and other GNB staff regarding the
latest cases of lead poisoning: Both employees have been re1noved from exposure by Dr.
Pena. Information in the interview indicates that _there are still serious problems with the
GNB lead safety plan. The causes identified by GNB for the lead poisonings are
questionable: 1) battery recycling worker had recently been transferred from a low
exposure area to Smelting and according to GNB had been retrained but hadn't yet
changed his old habits, including his personal hygiene; 2) lead oxide worker had removed
his respirator during work to talk to his coworkers about . There still seems to
be little appreciation that the high air lead levels in both the areas where these individuals
worked, and reliance on respirators to control exposures, are serious problems that need
to be addressed. Again, the cases of lead poisoning are viewed as isolated events. There
does, however, seem to be improvement in the handling ofMRP. Dr. Pena received the
BLLs in a reasonable amount of time and workers were removed as directed by Dr. Pena.

December 15, 1995

Letter from OLPPP to GNB requesting information regarding areas of concern,


specifically: air monitoring results for Smelting Department; revised Compliance Plan;
copy of the form GNB uses for notifying workers with BLLs at or above 40 ug/dl ofMRP
benefits and other requirements of the Standard.

We also ask for information about the Commerce Plant. This plant had been purchased by
GNB during the year and we did not have information in the file on this operation. We
requested a Compliance Plan, respiratory protection program and air monitoring results
for the previous 6 months.

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February 8, 1996

GNB replies to our December letter by sending air monitoring data for the Smelting
Department; a copy of the revised elevated BLL notification form (now appears to be in
compliance with the Standard). No compliance plan is available; they say they are still
working on it.

March 14, 1996

Pet�r Scholz and Patricia Coyle interview Ty Avendano �{ld Vianey Munoz after receiving
an elevated BLL for the Smelting Dept. worker. After 2 consecutive BLLs below 40
ug/dl this individual had been returned to the Smelting Department. Subsequently his BLL
jumped to 5 ug/dl in February. Dr. Pena again removed this employee. Our discussion
with Ty and Vianey again raised serious concerns about exposure control in the Smelting
Dept. as well as serious concerns about how this particular case was handled. Worker
was returned to the highest exposure job in the department with the highest air levels and
placed in a respirator that was found later to not fit him, even though he had been fit­
tested once. In addition, this all occurred during a period when one-third of the
ventilation was out in this dept. (For details see 3:-15-96 memo summarizing the
interview.)

March 19, 1996

Another letter sent from OLPPP to GNB requesting compliance plan, at a minimum for
Smelting Department if plan for entire plant not yet complete.

April and May 1996

None of the requested information received. Ty Avendano says they are still working on
it. I

July 5, 1996

Letter from OLPPP to GNB informing them that we will refer the company to Cal/OSHA
for enforcement action if we do not receive a written compliance plan which is
substantially in compliance with the lead standard by July 16, 1996.

July 12, 1996

GNB informs us that they will be discussing the compliance plan in a July 24, 1996
meeting with Cal/OSHA and will forward a copy to us after Cal/OSHA has reviewed the
plan and GNB has revised it.