Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 4


March 21, 2024

US Department of Labor finds Alabama forklift parts manufacturer could have prevented 38-year-old foundry worker's fatal injuries

Cullman Casting Corp exposed workers to caught-in hazards, cited for 6 serious violations

CULLMAN, AL – A 38-year-old worker at a Cullman manufacturing plant suffered fatal injuries after getting caught inside a molding machine, a fatality the employer could have prevented by following established safety rules, a U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation found.

The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that on Aug. 31, 2023, the Cullman Casting Corp. second shift production supervisor attempted to adjust a plastic film on a mold machine – meant to produce forklift counterweights – when the machine cycled, pinning the worker between the moving components inside.

OSHA investigators determined that the employer repeatedly exposed workers to safety hazards by failing to de-energize and lockout the automated molding machine while workers were performing maintenance and cleaning. Investigators found the company exposed workers to caught-in hazards by failing to do the following:

  • Develop and utilize written lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Conduct periodic inspections of lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Ensure that employees are trained on lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Ensure that employees are placing locks when conducting lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Ensure machine guarding was in place for employees working in the pit.

"This tragic incident should never have occurred," said OSHA Area Office Director Joel Batiz in Birmingham, Alabama. "Manufacturing companies use complex, high-powered, industrial-sized equipment and every precaution must be taken, and every safety procedure followed. When an employer such as Cullman Casting Corp. fails to make safety a priority, severe and sadly fatal consequences can occur, leaving family and friends to grieve."

OSHA cited the employer with six serious violations and proposed $95,981 in penalties, an amount set by federal statute.

Cullman Casting Corp is an iron foundry located in Cullman, Alabama, and a wholly owned subsidiary of North Vernon Industry Corp. Cullman Casting uses vacuum-process molding for counterbalance products.

OSHA's machine guarding and control of hazardous energy webpages provide information on what employers must do to limit worker exposures to machine hazards.

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.

Visit OSHA's website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA's compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards.

Learn more about OSHA.

Media Contacts:

Erika B. Ruthman, 678-237-0630, ruthman.erika.b@dol.gov
Eric R. Lucero, 678-237-0630, lucero.eric.r@dol.gov

Release Number: 24-264-ATL (85)