BERLIN, Wis. (AP) — Grede Foundry and three supervisors have been indicted for allegedly obstructing an investigation into asbestos exposure to workers at the company’s now-shuttered facility in Berlin.
The seven-count indictment alleges conspiracy, obstruction and false statements. The case involves a January 2012 incident in which foundry workers allegedly were given inadequate safety equipment and not informed they were dealing with asbestos while working on equipment, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The supervisors lied to inspectors who visited the plant following a complaint from workers, and safety officials with the company tried to cover up the exposure, according to the indictment.
The indictment names corporate safety and environmental director Peter Mark, safety coordinator Christy McNamee and operations manager Steven O’Connell. The company was also named as a defendant.
Mark’s attorney, Dean Strang, said the indictment has incorrect information, but that he couldn’t be specific because of ethics rules. Strang said there would be a “strong, thoughtful and thorough defense.”
If convicted, the supervisors could face prison time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. The corporation could face millions of dollars in criminal penalties.
“At Grede, the health and safety of our employees are always our top priority, and we strive to always follow all state and federal laws and regulations,” a firm representing the company said in a statement.
“This matter arises from events that occurred five years ago at Grede’s Berlin, Wisconsin, facility that is now closed. Grede has worked hard to enhance its environmental and safety compliance program over the past several years.”
The firm didn’t comment on the indictment, citing the ongoing legal case.