RUSSIA – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently concluded an investigation at Francis Manufacturing Company in Russia and issued a fine after an incident that resulted in an employee’s death on June 1, 2022.
OSHA classified the violation as serious and issued a fine of $7,831. According to the citation issued, “The employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees, in that employees were not protected from the hazard of high ambient heat while performing jobs duties.”
Francis Manufacturing employees are exposed to excessive heat from furnaces and molten metal while working with aluminum sand castings, and according to OSHA’s investigation, the outdoor maximum dry bulb temperature during the work shift on June 1 was approximately 88 degrees Fahrenheit with a 70% mean relative humidity. These factors caused an employee who was manually breaking apart sand molds in the shake-out area to collapse. Resuscitation efforts were administered, but the employee was pronounced dead at the hospital, and the cause of death was heatstroke.
The report also details two other incidents that occurred within 24 hours of each other. On the same day, an employee who was pouring molten metal into molds felt weak and experienced cramping at approximately 8:40 a.m. and was allowed to leave work and recover at home. The day before, with the same outside temperature and a 43% mean relative humidity, an employee experienced weakness and fatigue while working in the molding department. The employee completed the day and experienced the same symptoms the next day at approximately 10:30 a.m. The employee recovered in the break room.
The proposed fine was $13,052, and according to Scott Allen, the regional director for public affairs and media relations for the U.S. Department of Labor, of which OSHA is a part, a penalty can be adjusted based on the size of the company, work done from the company to improve the safety and health of employees, and the company’s past history with OSHA.
“OSHA’s top priority is always abatement and corrective action of the cited violation. In this case, the company provided evidence of the implementation of a workplace heat illness prevention program, intended to prevent employees from being exposed to heat-related illnesses in the future,” Allen said.
Allen said OSHA’s investigation included observing work operations, conducting interviews with employees and employer representatives and reviewing employer written programs, training records, and medical documentation.