Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on January 11, 2018, the corporate owner of the now shuttered Grede foundry located in Berlin, Wisconsin, paid a maximum fine of $200,000 and pled guilty to a criminal violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 7413(c)(4), a provision of the Clean Air Act.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Grede L.L.C. acknowledged that in January of 2012, foundry management negligently ordered numerous employees to remove asbestos-containing insulation material from the roof of an inactive industrial oven. The work on the oven released chrysotile asbestos fibers into the air. The company failed to provide the workers with adequate personal protective equipment, or follow standard asbestos abatement procedures, placing the workers in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.
In addition to the fine, Grede L.L.C. agreed to provide the eleven (11) affected workers with over $340,000 to provide for future medical monitoring for mesothelioma and similar lung conditions.
“It is well known that asbestos exposure is hazardous to human health,” said Brad Ostendorf, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program for Region 5. “If materials containing asbestos aren’t handled safely – and legally – workers and the community can be placed at great risk. EPA and its partner agencies are committed to protecting both the environment and public health.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources investigated this case. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office jointly prosecuted the case for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
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For further information contact:
Activing Public Information Officer Elizabeth Makowski, 414-297-1700