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Region 5 News Release: 05-863-CHI
May 19, 2005
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Federal Workplace Safety Agency Proposes $78,000 in Penalties
CHICAGO -- A St. Charles, Ill. aluminum die casting foundry's failure to prevent amputations by guarding dangerous machinery, among other workplace hazards, has resulted in citations for repeat, willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety and health standards, and a $78,000 penalty proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the agency announced today.
OSHA opened an investigation at Precise Castings, Inc., St. Charles, Ill., following an October 2004 amputation in which an employee of the company suffered severe lacerations and crushing injuries to his hand and arm and lost part of two fingers when an inadequately guarded hydraulic trim press malfunctioned while the employee was retrieving parts. The company's history indicates that there have been several amputations from 1999 to date.
OSHA's investigation found that the company had willfully violated federal standards by failing to guard three hydraulic trim presses at the point of operation, including one which was involved in another amputation. The company also received a citation characterized as repeat for failing to develop adequate energy control procedures for hydraulic trim presses to prevent accidental energizing of machinery. The company was cited for the same type of violation in July 2002. OSHA also issued a serious citation for safety violations including training deficiencies and failing to provide ladders or scaffolds when required. A serious health citation was issued alleging that Precise Castings exposed workers to noise levels well above established standards, did not provide a selection of suitable hearing protection and did not require or provide proper personal protective clothing or equipment.
"Strong enforcement is a key part of OSHA's efforts to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses," said Kathy O'Connell, OSHA's Area Director in North Aurora. "There can be no excuse for this kind of indifference to the welfare and safety of working men and women." The St. Charles facility of Precise Castings has been inspected six times since 1995 and has been cited in machine guarding, noise and lock out tag out on three previous occasions. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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