Aluminum Caster Faces $220,000 in Proposed OSHA Fines

Feb. 1, 2011
For failing to correct previous violations cited in an early inspection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Syracuse, NY-based Oberdorfer LLC for 28 alleged violations of workplace health and safety standards, including failing to correct hazards cited during a previous inspection.

Oberdorfer was established in 1875 and has been in continuous operation since then. The aluminum caster supplies highly engineered cast aluminum component parts for the aviation, transportation, utilities, aerospace, military, high-performance automotive, and medical markets. According to the company's website, it uses Isocure (cold box), shell cores (the Rock Shell process), and no-bake cores in its casting processes.

The company faces a total of $220,000 in proposed fines following an OSHA inspection conducted last July. OSHA had cited the company in an inspection — prior to the one last summer — for employee overexposure to airborne concentrations of silica. July's inspection found that Oberdorfer had failed to implement engineering controls to reduce workers' exposure to silica and that those employees who were exposed lacked a respirator.

According to OSHA, breathing in crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which causes trouble breathing due to the swelling from the silica dust in the lungs and chest lymph nodes. Over time, it may advance causing progressive massive fibrosis, or severe scarring of lung structures.

As a result of the latest inspection, OSHA issued two failure-to-abate notices, carrying $75,000 in fines for uncorrected conditions, and one willful citation totaling $70,000 due to the lack of a respirator. Oberdorfer was also issued 21 serious citations with $72,000 in fines for a series of fall, electrical, and machine guarding hazards. An additional $3,000 fine was added for inadequate recording of workplace injuries and illnesses.

Oberdorfer LLC has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director, or contest the findings before the independent OSHA commission.