Michigan Foundry Fined After Deadly Accident

March 5, 2004
Eagle Alloy determined to improve safety

The Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration has fined Eagle Alloy Inc., a steel foundry, for three serious violations of worker safety rules, following an investigation of a September 13, 2003 accident at the plant that killed one worker. The fines are reported to total more than $3,000.

Jason L. Nichols, 22, died as a result of injuries he sustained when a 55-gallon drum that once held isopropyl alcohol exploded as he was cutting it apart with a torch. Isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable, and the drum should not have been among the materials handled with a cutting torch, say Michigan OSHA authorities.

The citations were issued in November. According to local news reports, they include

  • A $1,375 fine for on welding or cutting containers that have not been adequately cleared of flammable, combustible, or toxic materials and fumes.
  • A fine of $825 for inadequately informing and training employees on handling hazardous chemicals.
  • A $1,375 fine for failing to train or test each employee assigned to use arc and gas welding or cutting equipment.

Eagle Alloy paid the fines of $3,575 on and corrected the violations, according to Michigan OSHA records. The case is now closed.

Eagle Alloy president John Workman told Muskegon Chronicle the violations were corrected immediately after the accident. "We're really struggling with this here, because we have always been proud of our safety program overall," Workman told the paper. "Our safety committee is continuing to work on policies and procedures to make sure that an accident of this type can never happen again.”