MARINETTE, WI – The recent federal safety inspections of a northern Wisconsin foundry determined workplace safety failures caused two workers to suffer severe injuries. In May, a worker lost two fingers to amputation and in July, an overhead hot metal carrier struck and injured another worker. US Department of Labor proposes $200K in fines for the foundry. The company has 15 business days to comply, request a conference, or contest the findings before the independent OSHRC. Waupaca Foundry Inc. is a leading supplier of iron castings to the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture, construction, and industrial markets.
A Total of Three Inspections Led to Penalties of $200K
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. The employer reported the July 17 injury to inspectors during the second inspection, which led to a third inspection. After completing the three inspections, OSHA issued one willful, seven serious, and five other-than-serious violations to Waupaca Foundry. The proposed penalties are $200,895.
Exposure to respirable crystalline silica due to inadequate engineering and administrative controls, dry sweeping, and cleaning with compressed air.
The foundry industry had a 6.4 percent rate of injury in 2020
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the foundry industry had a 6.4 percent injury rate for every 100 workers in 2020. “Foundries are inherently dangerous industrial operations. The 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,” he continued.
CANTON, OH – The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) responded to a complaint of unsafe working conditions at Republic Steel in Canton Ohio. Inspectors found the automative steel mill failed to install adequate machine guarding, implement lockout/tagout measures, or train workers on safety procedures. These violations exposed workers to amputation hazards. As a result, OSHA has placed the steel mill in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
Additionally, OSHA has proposed $220,399 in penalties. These penalties are accounted for by one repeat, seven serious, and three other-than-serious safety violations. The company was also cited for similar hazards in 2017.
In their press release, OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts stated, “To avoid amputations and other severe injuries, employers must install safety guards on machines and train workers on how to control hazardous energy and avoid coming in contact with operating machine parts. Republic Steel is well aware of their responsibility to ensure safety procedures are followed, yet once again, they’ve failed to do so.”
According to their website, Republic Steel, the company placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, provides steel bar products for automakers, as well as coils, rods, and wires. They are based in Canton, OHIO, and a subsidiary of Grupo Simec of Guadalajara Mexico.
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 Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Waterville, Maine – OSHA has cited a Maine auto body plant for safety violations. These violations total nearly $400k. They are the direct result of an inspection opened Oct. 1st 2020 in response to a complaint.
Shyft Group Duramag LLC, formerly known as F3 MFG Inc., faces $393,992 in proposed fines. These fines are due to not addressing hazards that placed employees at risk, OSHA cited two willful and 10 serious violations.
OSHA Area Director David McGuan in Augusta, Maine, stated “Management’s knowledge of these hazards and their failure to correct them led us to cite these conditions as willful violations.”
As stated in OSHA’s Press Release: OSHA also cited the Maine auto body plant for violations regarding failure to:
Guard employees against struck-by and crushing hazards from homemade attachments used on auto lifts and provide adequate training to employees.
Guard machinery to prevent employees from coming in contact with machines’ operating parts.
Conduct a hazard assessment to determine what personal protective equipment is required for employees and to select appropriate protective equipment for employees.
Provide appropriate protective goggles for workers and other persons near a welding area that lacked noncombustible or flameproof screens or shields.
Establish and implement a respiratory protection program, medically evaluate employees’ ability to wear respirators, fit-test employees before using respirators, train employees on respirators and adequately maintain and store respirators.
Securely anchor machines to prevent them from moving.
Refrain from using flexible cords and/or cables as a substitute for fixed electrical wiring and adequately guard electrical openings.
Henderson, NV – The Nevada Occupational Safety and Hazard Association (Nevada OSHA) is investigating the death of Harry Kenneth Peterson III, as reported by The Las Vegas Review Journal. Last week, the fire department was called to a rock quarry described as the Viento Puntero Pit.
Fire Department Chief, Shawn White, reported what he was told by emergency crews. Crews were informed that Peterson had been helping others move a rock crushing machine to another area of the work site.
When part of the machine was apparently jammed, Peterson tried to fix it and was caught in the machine. Rescue workers said it was not clear how he became stuck. White reported Peterson had head and chest injuries. When rescue crews arrived, Peterson had already been removed from the machine.
When emergency crews arrived, Peterson was breathing and transported to to Sunrise Trauma. On Friday, Peterson succumbed to his injuries at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
The death has been ruled an accident. The Fire Department has contacted Nevada OSHA to investigate the work site death. A related police report was released Wednesday. It did not contain details about the incident, except that it did not appear to be a result of a criminal act.
Nevada OSHA’s spokeswoman, Teri Williams, described Peterson’s employer as Las Vegas Paving Corp. The company lists their services on its website, including: asphalt placing, aggregate crushing & material supply, Design-Build. James Barker acts as Las Vegas Paving Corp’s general counsel. He did not comment out of respect for the family and because of the ongoing investigation.
YEOSU, South Korea – Sunday, January 10th, 2021, a 33-year-old mechanic for a coal storing company at the national industrial complex in Yeosu died after his body got stuck in a machine used for coal transportation.
According to Yeosu Fire Station, the contract worker was caught in the machine starting around 7:55 p.m. Sunday and was taken out from the machine at 10:32 p.m. by rescuers dispatched to the scene.
The badly injured worker was transported to a nearby hospital in cardiac arrest and ultimately died there around 11:42 p.m. The accident occurred while he was inspecting the machinery with another worker, who was the one that initially reported the emergency to the company.
Police and labor authorities in South Korea are investigating the exact circumstances of the incident and whether there have been any violations of safety guidelines. Machine Safety is essential to stay trained and informed of, even with routine inspections.
In 2018, another worker fell to his death three meters off of a conveyor at the same company.
Hudson, N.C.- Last Tuesday, 12/29/20, at Sealed Air Corp. plant in Hudson, North Carolina, worker Alan Rothenberger was trapped in a machine for 45 minutes.
He was airlifted to a hospital and is currently in a coma due to brain damage caused by lack of air-flow to his brain for 10 minutes after the incident.
The North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) division has begun its investigation into the incident.
“Based on the preliminary information that we have at this time, an employee was threading up a machine when their body was pulled into the machine causing crushing injuries to their torso,” OSHA said in a statement.
The incident is believed to have taken place when rollers did not have a clear stop or release button accessed, potentially being a lockout tagout machine issue or fault. Sealed Air. Corp manufactures bubble wrap and foam.
Jay, ME- Malfunctioning machinery sent wood fiber and other debris shooting into the sky after a massive explosion at a paper mill in Jay, Maine, Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
All employees at the mill have since been accounted for and no injuries were reported.
At 12:06 p.m., Jay police and fire officials received reports of an explosion at a paper factory operated by Pixelle Specialty Paper Solutions at 300 Riley Rd., Davis said. Pixelle spokeswoman Roxie Lassetter said a rupture in the pressure valve of a digester, which creates pulp from wood chips to be used in the paper, caused the explosion.
Lassetter said none of the 165 employees who were inside the building were near the explosion. Some employees and people close to the plant were treated at the scene for minor respiratory issues from the debris in the air, but no one was taken to the hospital, she said.
Lassetter said the blast sent water, wood fiber, and chemicals used during the pulping process into the air during the blast. Environmental officials from the state will assess the area for any hazards, she said.
Pixelle has yet to determine the extent of the damage. Fire officials and representatives from the company will start to assess the site Thursday morning, though Lassetter said the area of the blast has sustained “significant damage.”
Sydney, Australia- A 35-year-old man has lost half his leg in a workplace accident at a factory in New South Wales’ Macarthur region, near Sydney.
Ambulance crews were called to the Inghams Poultry Processing Plant on Ralfe St, Tahmoor, about 8am on Wednesday.
Paramedics worked frantically to free the man, trapped in a machine at the turkey processing facility, and whose leg had to be amputated from the knee.
He was treated at the scene before being flown to Liverpool Hospital in a serious condition.
The ambulance spokesperson said a 35-year-old man was stuck in a piece of machinery, and has sustained a serious leg injury. A specialist medical team arrived by helicopter, where the man was extricated from the scene and flown to hospital for further treatment, in a serious condition.
“Ingham’s has been working with emergency services to do everything it can to support and aid an employee who has been injured in a serious workplace incident. The employee is on his way to hospital and is reported to be in a stable condition,” an Ingham’s spokesperson states.
“The employee’s family is on their way to the hospital and being given all possible assistance and support. Fellow employees are being provided with counselling.”
“Ingham’s will work with the appropriate safety authorities to investigate the incident and will continue to focus on ensuring the safety of its employees.”
Kentucky, USA- The family of a Kentucky man killed in a workplace incident has filed a lawsuit against his employer, GE Appliances, as well as other parties.
Steve Herring, who has worked for GE Appliances for more than two decades, died in February after being pinned by machinery while working on a refrigerator-building assembly line. News sources are reporting that the state OSHA’s investigation into the workplace incident found that it could have been caused by an inadvertent activation of an improperly positioned gate interlock control.
The lawsuit filed in Jefferson Circuit Court last week names General Electric Company, Design Safety Engineering Inc., Doerfer Corperation, Doerfer Acquisition Company, JR Automation Technologies LLC, Haier US Appliance Solutions Inc. and Kentucky resident Mark Miller as defendants.
The lawsuit claims that the assembly line Herring was working on was “unreasonably dangerous” and in “defective condition.” It alleges that there were no instructions or warnings about the hazards on the line — and that the companies being sued were aware of the defects. The suit requests punitive and compensatory damages.
According to Kentucky OSHA, GE made changes to the safety programming on an assembly line that was identical to the one at which Herring was pinned following a 2014 incident. However, the company didn’t fix the line where Herring worked until after Herring died.
An inspection conducted by the agency after the fatality resulted in GE being cited for seven safety violations and fined $98,000, which the company is appealing.
Sydney, Australia- A 30-year-old man was crushed to death at a pallet factory in Sydney’s west, one of three industrial accidents across the city on Wednesday. Ambulance crews were called to a pallet factory at Forrester Road in St Marys about 5:40am, where they found a 30-year-old man with severe head injuries. Paramedics treated the man at the scene but he could not be saved.
As mentioned, this was only one of the multiple recent industrial accidents in this area of Australia this week.
In the city’s east, a man is in a critical condition following a workplace accident at an address in Point Piper. Emergency crews were called to a home on Longworth Avenue about 7:30am, after receiving reports a man had fallen 8 to 10 meters from a scaffolding fall.
In Pyrmont, a worker has been taken to hospital with head injuries after he was struck by falling pipes.