August 14, 2023
Federal investigators find Ohio foundry's failure to follow required safety procedures led to fatal steam explosion
1 fatality, 15 injuries, and work site’s complete loss
BEDFORD, OH – A federal workplace safety investigation into a Beford foundry explosion that caused the death of a maintenance supervisor and injuries to 15 other employees found the operator, I. Schumann & Co. LLC, failed to protect workers from the hazard of steam explosions.
Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned the explosion happened while employees inspected a water leak on a furnace used to smelt solid metals. OSHA determined water leaked onto the molten metal inside the furnace, causing a steam explosion. Inspectors found the company did not make sure that required lockout/tag out procedures were followed during the inspection of the furnace.
"This terrible tragedy could have been avoided if the employer followed well-known machine safety standards that are meant to prevent this type of explosion," explained OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland, Ohio. "Sadly, a worker lost his life and 15 others were hurt in an incident that was entirely preventable. It’s exactly why employers need to follow required safety procedures and train their employees."
Based in Bedford since 1917, I. Schumann & Co. today recycles material into metal alloys, ingots and pellets.
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.
Release Number: 23-1750-CHI