On October 28, Water Gremlin received an order from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to cease operations regarding the manufacture of lead fishing lures and lead sinkers and the manufacture of lead terminals for lead-acid batteries. Water Gremlin temporarily ceased operations and, after outlining a plan to implement additional lead-safe practices, the Ramsey County District Court authorized the company to resume operations on November 5.
Since Water Gremlin first engaged with Ramsey County in August 2018, the company has worked to enhance its policies for lead safety.
We want to share an update on the policies Water Gremlin has in place to protect our employees and their families. We are working in cooperation with the state on our shared goal of ensuring that no lead leaves our plant in the future.
Since the court hearing ended last Friday afternoon, we have been working around the clock with a certified industrial hygienist to clean our locker rooms, cafeteria and employee vehicles; create new training materials for our employees; and train our managers and supervisors to better apply our improved hygiene policies.
These measures are in addition to policies and programs that were previously in place at Water Gremlin, including:
- Routinely monitoring the blood lead levels of our employees.
- Requiring employees to wear shoes that are only to be worn at work. These shoes are easily identifiable with green shoelaces.
- Requiring all visitors to our plant to wear booties over street shoes to ensure that nobody leaves our plant with lead on their shoes.
- Requiring employees to keep their personal items (keys, phones, wallets, purses, coins and jewelry) in their lockers throughout their shift.
- Requiring employees to clean any personal items such as glasses, hearing aids and rings worn in the plant before going home.
- Requiring employees to wash their hands and face before leaving the plant.
- Placing signage in multiple languages throughout our facility to remind employees of the importance of our hygiene protocols.
The health and wellbeing of our employees and their families is important to us. So far, our protocols have resulted in a 6.3% decrease of blood lead levels for Water Gremlin employees from 2018 to 2019. We are committed to continuing our robust hygiene policies for the safety of our employees and their families.