California Foundry Fined $283,390 in Double Amputation Case

Cal/OSHA cited Alhambra Foundry for similar violations eight years ago.

After a worker at a company in Alhambra, Calif., suffered serious injuries last Aug. 28, Cal/OSHA announced it has cited the company, Alhambra Foundry, and fined it $283,390 in the case. Two surgeons had to amputate both of the worker's legs after he became entangled in an auger at the company, which is an iron foundry and machine shop.

Cal/OSHA also had cited Alhambra Foundry for similar violations eight years ago, according to the agency.

The incident occurred as two workers at the foundry were cleaning and unjamming a 38-foot-long auger screw conveyor at the bottom hopper of an industrial air filtration device. They had not effectively de-energized or locked out the equipment, Cal/OSHA reported, explaining that one of the workers re-entered the 20-inch-square opening after the cleaning was done to retrieve a work light from inside it. A maintenance worker who was 45 feet away energized the equipment to perform a test, and the moving auger screw pulled the worker into the screw conveyor.

"Sending a worker into a confined space is dangerous, especially inside machinery that can be powered on at any time," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "Employers must ensure that machinery and equipment are de-energized and locked out before workers enter the space to perform operations involving cleaning and servicing."

Cal/OSHA said its investigation found that:

  • The foundry did not have a permit-required confined space program.
  • The screw conveyor was not de-energized and locked out before workers entered the hopper, and accident prevention signs were not placed on the controls.
  • The worker who re-entered the hopper was not monitored by a confined space attendant.
  • Alhambra Foundry lacked specific procedures for de-energizing and locking out the equipment.

Cal/OSHA issued eight citations that included one willful serious accident-related, one willful serious, four serious, one willful general, and one general in nature.

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