A northern Wisconsin foundry faces a potential $200,000 fine for safety violations that led to the severe injuries of two workers earlier this year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) made the announcement on Nov. 8.
Waupaca Foundry in Marinette is accused of a series of violations. In May, an incident led to a worker losing two fingers. Then, in July, another worker sustained injuries when struck by an overhead hot metal carrier.
Lack of energy control procedures
While investigating the May incident, OSHA inspectors determined that the foundry violated regulations related to noise and exposure to respirable crystalline silica – a mineral that when inhaled may lead to lung cancer.
During a second scheduled inspection in July, Waupaca Foundry informed OSHA about the second injury, thus leading to a third inspection. OSHA inspectors determined that Waupaca Foundry’s absence of energy control procedures led to the workers’ injuries.
A total of 13 violations
The agency issued 13 violations for the two incidents and proposed fines of $200,895. Among the violations include:
- Exposure to fall and trip hazards
- Using damaged ladders
- Poor controls in reducing exposure to excessive noise
- Exceeding the limit of personal exposure to respirable crystalline silica
Foundries are dangerous workplaces. It is essential for employers to protect their workers and provide a safe working environment. The Waupaca Foundry has 15 days to comply with or contest the penalties.
It is critical to protect workers
While an employee cannot “sue” their employer for workplace accidents, negligent and reckless employers should face consequences for not protecting their workers, providing them with the proper safety instruction or personal protective equipment. Everyday workers want assurance that they will return home safely after a hard day on the job.