Foundry Worker Suffers Fatal Burns After Falling into Equipment

Foundry Worker Suffers Fatal Burns After Falling into Equipment

The foundry’s operator was cited for one willful violation after the worker’s death.

A worker at a foundry that OSHA says “routinely exposed employees to unprotected fall hazards” lost their life when they fell into a melting pot. The foundry operator now faces one violation and proposed penalties of nearly $145,000.

According to a news release, in early June, a 39-year-old employee at a Mapleton, Illinois, foundry who was “removing a sample of iron from the furnace” fell into an 11-foot-dep melting pot containing molten iron. They were “immediately incinerated” when they fell into the iron, which was hotter than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, OSHA said. It was the employee’s ninth day at work.

OSHA found that workers at the foundry, operated by Caterpillar, were exposed to “unprotected fall hazards.” Caterpillar, which employs more than 800 employees at the site, was cited for one willful violation and received proposed penalties of $145,027.

"Caterpillar's failure to meet its legal responsibilities to ensure the safety and health of workers leaves this worker's family, friends and co-workers to grieve needlessly," said OSHA Area Director Christine Zortman in Peoria said in the news release. "We implore employers to review the agency specific regulations to protect workers from falls into equipment in industrial settings."

When employees are working over any “dangerous equipment,” no matter the distance from the equipment, OSHA requires employers to give these workers fall protection.

"A worker's life could have been spared if Caterpillar had made sure required safety protections were in place, a fact that only adds to this tragedy," said OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan in Chicago in the news release.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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