U.S. Department of Labor Proposes $200k in Fines After Two Workers Suffer Injuries in Separate Incidents at a Northern Wisconsin Foundry

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes $200k in Fines After Two Workers Suffer Injuries in Separate Incidents at a Northern Wisconsin Foundry

OSHA finds a lack of energy control procedures, inadequate machine guarding, workers exposed to occupational noise and respirable crystalline silica.

Federal safety inspections conducted recently of a northern Wisconsin foundry determined workplace failures caused two workers to suffer severe injuries. In May, one worker lost two fingers to amputation and in July, an overhead hot metal carrier struck and injured another worker. While OSHA investigated the incident at Waupaca Foundry Inc. in Marinette, the agency opened a second scheduled inspection under its National Emphasis Program for Primary Metals. Inspectors found violations related to exposures to respirable crystalline silica and noise. During the the second inspection, the employer reported the July 17 injury to inspectors, which led to a third inspection.

According to a press release, OSHA determined a lack of energy control procedures, commonly known as lockout/tagout, exposed workers to hazards in both incidents. After completing the three inspections, OSHA issued one willful, seven serious and five other-than-serious violations to Waupaca Foundry and proposed $200,895 in penalties.

“Foundries are inherently dangerous industrial operations, where workers are exposed to hazards from machinery, trips and falls, occupational noise, and respirable silica,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton. “Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the foundry industry had a 6.4 percent rate of injury for every 100 workers in 2020.

OSHA cited the following violations:

Waupaca Foundry Inc. is a leading supplier of iron castings to the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture, construction and industrial markets. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent OSHRC.

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