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OSHA Cites Waupaca Foundry Plant

Nov. 16, 2021
A ductile-iron foundry in Marinette, WI, has drawn 13 citations for lack of lockout/tagout procedures, inadequate machine guarding, and exposing workers to noise and respirable crystalline silica.

Waupaca Foundry’s Marinette, WI, plant has been cited for 13 workplace-safety violations by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, with proposed penalties totaling $200,895, according to an OSHA statement.

The plant is one of six that Waupaca operates. It pours ductile iron castings and has more than 750 workers.

As reported by the agency, the safety violations were responsible for injuries to two workers: in May, a worker lost two fingers, and in July another worker was injured after being struck by an overhead hot-metal carrier.

During OSHA’s investigation of the May incident, it scheduled a second inspection under the parameters of its National Emphasis Program for Primary Metals – an initiative the agency began in 2011 to identify and reduce or eliminate worker exposures to harmful chemical and physical hazards at businesses that produce metal products.

At the Waupaca plant, OSHA determined that workers had been exposed to respirable crystalline silica and noise, and later determined that the plant’s inadequate energy-control (i.e., lockout/tagout) procedures led to both incidents.

The OSHA violations included exposing workers to fall and trip hazards; inadequate machine guarding; damaged fixed ladders; inadequate engineering/administrative controls to reduce noise exposure; respirable crystalline silica exposure that exceeded the personal exposure limit; and exposure to respirable crystalline silica due to inadequate engineering and administrative controls, dry sweeping, and cleaning with compressed air.

“Foundries are inherently dangerous industrial operations, where workers are exposed to hazards from machinery, trips and falls, occupational noise, and respirable silica,” stated OSHA area director Robert Bonack. “Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers.”

According to OSHA procedures, Waupaca Foundry was allowed 15 business days from its receipt of the 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.