OSHA Fines Ala. Foundry for Safety Violations

May 3, 2005

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited United States Pipe and Foundry Company and proposed penalties totaling $71,000 following inspections at the company’s Bessemer, Alabama plant in response to a fatal accident last fall.

On Oct 27, dislodged crane cables struck and killed a foundry employee. Although the company is a molten metal industry health “partner” with OSHA, the agency began a fatality investigation Oct. 28, and initiated plant-wide safety and health inspections on Nov. 4.

“Partnerships, in general, have proven to be an effective tool in reducing worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses. This company focused on reducing employee exposure to noise, silica and lead but failed to address other serious hazards not specified in the partnership agreement,” said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA’s Birmingham area director.

The company received two serious citations directly related to the fatality, with proposed penalties of $9,500, for failing to have a safety latch on a gantry crane hook and failing to ensure that employees used personal protective equipment, such as hard hats.

OSHA also issued 20 additional serious citations, with proposed penalties of $61,500, alleging other deficiencies in gantry and overhead cranes; inadequate personal protective equipment and eye wash stations for employees working with corrosive materials; improper labeling and storage of hazardous chemicals; failing to provide employees with safety and health training; lack of fall protection; failing to protect workers from electrical hazards; exposing employees to injuries from unguarded machinery; and not properly locking and tagging machinery to prevent start-up during maintenance or repair.

The company has 15 days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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