Minnesota workers concerned about health hazards on the job may want to review a recent case involving one of the largest foundry companies in North America. The factory was located in another state although it has since been shut down due to asbestos exposure incidents that led to litigation. Representatives of Grede LLC pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court.
The company entered the plea as part of a deal with federal prosecutors. The court accepted the plea as admission that the company violated the Clean Air Act. Before its shutdown, Grede LLC specialized in casting parts from ferrous metals that were then sold to various automotive and compressor and pump industries.
In 2012, employers at Grede LLC ordered workers to clean an industrial oven. While this type of duty is not atypical at the foundry, problems arose when employers did not provide protective gear or follow strict protocol to keep workers safe and avoid asbestos exposure. It so happens that the industrial oven they were made to clean was laden with asbestos.
Upon indictment, supervisors were threatened with extensive prison sentences and fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The company itself was told it could face millions of dollars in penalties. In light of the plea deal, the company must pay a $200,000 fine and $340,000 to workers so they can monitor their health for possible asbestos exposure illnesses in the future. Criminal charges against the supervisors were dismissed as part of the deal. Minnesota workers who believe their employers were negligent in asbestos-related incidents may seek immediate guidance from attorneys experienced in asbestos litigation.
Source: thenorthwestern.com, “Shuttered Grede foundry in Berlin fined $200K for exposing workers to asbestos“, Nate Beck, Jan. 12, 2018