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Region 5 News Release: 14-117-CHI
Jan. 30, 2014
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA Cites Torrance Castings Inc. for 10 safety
violations after furnace operator fatally injured

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Torrance Castings Inc. has been cited for 10 safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a furnace worker was fatally injured at the La Crosse-based iron foundry while working alone in a permit-required confined space while conducting maintenance on July 29, 2013.

The 30-year-old male had been working at the foundry for about two years. He fell into an electrical inductive furnace that he was trying to reline.

"Torrance Castings has a responsibility to protect workers from known hazards. In this case, OSHA's permit-required confined space standards explain how to keep workers safe when entering these spaces," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Preventable deaths are completely unacceptable, and employers are responsible for ensuring that they do not happen at their facilities."

Nine serious violations were issued. Four violations involve OSHA's permit-required confined space program regulations. A permit-required confined space is a space that has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

The company was cited for failing to:

  • Implement a written confined space permit program and develop procedures and practices to allow safe entry for electric inductive furnaces.
  • Prepare an entry permit prior to entry into the inductive furnace.
  • Provide an attendant outside the permit space for the duration of the entry operation.

Other violations include:

  • Failing to ensure employees pouring metal and shifting weights were wearing arm protection and using face shields.
  • Failing to include the health effects of silica, copper and other hazardous materials in employee training programs.
  • Failing to have a workbench for the stand grinder.
  • Allowing a worker to clean equipment suspended by a half-ton chain hoist.
  • Using electrical equipment in the powdered paint room not rated for such use.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

One other-than-serious violation was cited for failing to assess employee exposure to silica, copper, polyester triglycidyl isocyanurate powder, and coal tar pitch volatiles. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Because of this investigation, OSHA has proposed penalties of $47,700.

Torrance Casting Inc. has been inspected three previous times since 2000, resulting in the issuance of 10 citations. 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.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report 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 Madison Area Office at 608- 441-5388.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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