The Union Foundry Company in Anniston, Alabama, faces proposed penalties totaling $181,200 for serious, willful, and repeat violations. The company was investigated following an August 22 fatality that occurred when an employee was caught in an unguarded conveyor pulley as he attempted to unclog a nearby chute.
Following its investigation, OSHA proposed a penalty of $70,000 for the willful citation in connection with the unguarded pulley.
According to Birmingham area office director Ramona Morris, the conveyor's pulley guard had been removed three months earlier when the machinery was relocated while new equipment was installed.
The guard was never replaced, she said, "even though it was sitting near the machine in plain view." Simply by replacing the guard, the company could have averted this tragedy.
Morris said the willful citation was issued because no effort was made at the plant to assure workers' safety, even though management was aware that an unguarded conveyor could result in serious injury or death.
The inspection resulted in additional penalties for 17 serious violations and for two repeat violations -- for operating defective forklift trucks and for failure to ground electrical equipment. Both violations had been cited previously by OSHA.
Several months before the accident, a worker was killed in a similar incident at a Tyler, Texas, plant owned by the parent company that also owns the Anniston foundry.