OSHA Fines Alabama Foundry $71,000 Following Investigation of Fatal Accident

OSHA has cited United States Pipe and Foundry Company of Birmingham, Ala., and has proposed penalties totaling $71,000 following inspections at the company's Bessemer, Ala., plant in response to a fatal accident last fall.

On Oct 27, dislodged crane cables struck and killed a foundry employee, according to OSHA. Although the company is a molten metal industry health "partner" with OSHA, the agency says it began a fatality investigation Oct. 28 and initiated plantwide 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 allegedly failing to have a safety latch on a gantry crane hook and allegedly 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.
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