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Carrier workers demand blood tests, protective gear after lead dust revelations

Posted: 9:32 PM, Sep 07, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-08 01:32:03Z

INDIANAPOLIS -- Carrier workers met Wednesday with members of company management and IOSHA at the Government Center South to discuss the state’s investigation of lead at the warehouse.

 

IOSHA called it a serious violation and is seeking a $1,700 penalty.

 

Workers are demanding protective gear to work in the warehouse and are also demanding blood testing to put to rest fears of any lead contamination. The company says blood testing at this time would be inappropriate based on the current testing, which shows lead levels well below permissible state standards. The state also says it will not require Carrier to implement medical monitoring of its warehouse workforce.

 

The company disclosed it has been monitoring the situation inside its warehouse since

2012.

 

“We hope that Carrier follows through with the cleaning and where the lead is coming from,” said T.J Bray. Bray has worked at Carrier for nearly 15 years.

 

Duane Lively has worked at Carrier for a decade and currently is assigned to the warehouse. He often rides a sweeper inside that building which picks up the lead dust that is somehow blowing into the facility. He says he’s not worried about speaking out on this issue and any possible consequences.

 

“If they do, they do. They are going to Mexico anyway. What do I have to lose? I'm just exposing the truth,” said Lively.

 

Lively says he went to a lab and paid for a lead test. He’s awaiting the results.

 

He hopes the $60 he spent will bring him peace of mind, though he's concerned with his current work environment.

 

"You blow black dust out of your nose, cough it up. It’s everywhere. I’ve been cleaning up with a scrubber and it's back on the floor again," he said.

 

The biggest unknown is the source of the lead dust, since its blowing into the Carrier warehouse. The state would not say if any neighboring company is the focus on their review.

 

The company released the following statement:

 

“We are continuing to work closely with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the United Steelworkers to ensure the ongoing safety of our Indianapolis warehouse employees. As lead is not used in our warehouse processes, Carrier is supporting Indiana authorities in their investigation into the outside source of the lead,” said Carrier spokesperson Michelle Caldwell

 

We are always looking for ways to improve the work environment for our employees. In response to the IOSHA test results, Carrier is continuing to implement a comprehensive cleaning plan, which includes new equipment, cleaning procedures and support from outside experts.”

 

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