The U.S. Dept. of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week cited Trio Foundry Inc., an aluminum foundry that does business as Sandwich Castings and Machine, in Sandwich, IL, for 20 health and safety violations, including one willful and one repeat violation.

Sandwich Casting and Machine is a sand casting operation, and a business unit of CRS Industrial Sales Inc., which also has numerous subsidiaries conducting metal forming, machining, sintering, and other manufacturing specialties. OSHA indicated the foundry has about 25 employees. It casts various aluminum alloys, brass, bronze, copper alloy, and zinc products, from “ounces” up to 800 lb in aluminum. Finishing capabilities include plating, heat-treating, impregnating, and polishing. It has a separate metalcasting operation in Montgomery, IL.

The citations resulted from an OSHA health inspection in January initiated as part of OSHA's Local Emphasis Program for Primary Metals. Finding several safety violations, OSHA proceeded with a safety inspection in February. The agency stated it has inspected the Sandwich foundry four other times since 2007.

The penalties proposed for the foundry total $113,300. Trio Industries has been allowed 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The willful safety violation refers to the foundry failing to protect belt-sander operators from "caught-in" hazards and rotating parts. OSHA identifies a willful violation as one committed with “intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.” The repeat safety violation refers to a lack of guarding on an abrasive grinder wheel. For OSHA, a repeat violation is one involving a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states for which an employer has been cited within the preceding five years. Similar violations were discovered and cited at the Sandwich foundry in 2009.

Nine serious safety violations involve a lack of machine guarding, the documentation of "lockout/tagout" procedures for machines' energy sources, proper electrical equipment maintenance, personal protective equipment (PPE), and safety training for maintenance workers handling electrical equipment. Seven serious health violations concern the foundry using an unsecured propane tank for heating; failing to provide PPE against exposure and contact to molten metal; failure to ensure adequate housekeeping to prevent aluminum dust accumulation on surfaces and floors; failure to train and evaluate forklift drivers; and failure to provide workers with hazardous chemical safety information and training in hazard communication.

OSHA lists a serious violation as one for which there is substantial likelihood that death or serious physical harm may result from a hazard about which the employer knew, or should have known.

Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to maintain a written and certified PPE hazard assessment, as well as certification that employees received training in the use of the equipment. For OSHA, such a violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but isn’t likely to lead to death or serious physical harm.

"Trio Foundry Inc. is responsible for ensuring that workers are properly protected from inherent hazards in the metalcasting industry, such as amputations," stated OSHA area director Kathy Webb.