On Aug. 28, 2017, two Alhambra Foundry workers were cleaning an auger screw conveyor.
The employees were completing work at the bottom of the 38 ft.-long conveyor, which was not de-energized or locked out.
After the cleaning, one worker re-entered the confined space to retrieve a work light. A maintenance employee energized the conveyor in order to test it, at which point a moving auger screw pulled the worker who was inside the equipment into the screw conveyor. The worker became trapped, and both of his legs had to be amputated to free him.
Cal/OSHA now has cited Los Angeles-based Alhambra Foundry Co. Ltd. $283,390 as a result of the accident.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
The agency completed an extensive investigation into the incident and found that the foundry did not have a permit-required confined space program, the screw conveyor was not de-energized or locked out and the worker who entered the hopper was not monitored by a confined space attendant.
In addition, accident prevention signs were not posted on the controls, and Alhambra Foundry lacked procedures for de-energizing and locking out equipment.
The company received eight violations totaling a proposed $283,390: one willful serious accident-related, one willful serious, four serious, one willful general and one general.
This hasn’t been Alhambra Foundry’s first run-in with Cal/OSHA. The company previously was cited eight years ago for not taking measures to protect workers who cleaned and serviced equipment.