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June 8, 2016

West Allis iron foundry exposes workers to silica, machine hazards
Federal inspectors cite Motor Castings Company after machine part crushes employee's hands

Employer name: Motor Castings Company, West Allis, Wisconsin

Citations issued: May 26, 2016

Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued 10 serious and three other-than-serious safety violations to Motor Castings Company. Inspectors from OSHA's Milwaukee office opened an inspection after the company reported a 51-year-old worker suffered broken bones and lacerations to both hands requiring medical treatment.

Investigators determined he and other employees were attempting to realign and adjust the drag mold of a closing machine at the West Allis foundry when the cope, an operating machine part, fell unexpectedly and crushed both of the employee's hands.

The agency's investigation found the company:

  • Overexposed three workers to silica, that causes silicosis and can cause lung cancer. One employee's exposure was determined to be more than twice the recommended time-weight allowance.
  • Failed to require medical evaluations and fit testing for respirator use while employees where in a temporary status.
  • Lacked an adequate written respiratory protection program.
  • Allowed machines to operate without safety guards.
  • Lacked adequate lockout/tag out procedures to prevent unintentional machine startup during service and maintenance.
  • Failed to maintain adequate records of worker's injuries and illness.

Quote: "Each year, thousands of workers suffer occupational injuries from machinery and are exposed to substances like silica which can cause debilitating health conditions," said Christine Zortman, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "Foundries like Motor Castings Company have a responsibility to protect temporary and permanent workers in their facility from these hazards on the job."

Background: On March 24, 2016, OSHA announced a final rule to improve protections for workers exposed to respirable silica dust. The rule will curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America's workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

Proposed Penalties: $62,370

View safety and health citations.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Milwaukee Area Office at (414) 297-3315.

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Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-6976,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 16-1077-CHI

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