Cullman Casting Reprimanded After Worker Gets Caught Inside Molding Machine

The 38-year-old production supervisor was fatally injured.

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A U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation has found that the death of a 38-year-old worker at a Cullman, Alabama, manufacturing plant could have been prevented if the company had followed established safety rules. The worker was killed after being caught inside a molding machine.

According to OSHA, on Aug. 31, 2023, a second shift production supervisor at Cullman Casting Corp. attempted to adjust a plastic film on a molding machine used to manufacture forklift counterweights. The machine cycled, pinning the worker between the moving components inside.

Cullman Casting, a wholly-owned subsidiary of North Vernon Industry, is an iron foundry that uses vacuum-process molding for counterbalance products.

OSHA investigators determined that the employer repeatedly exposed workers to safety hazards by failing to de-energize and lockout the automated molding machine while workers performed maintenance and cleaning. OSHA cited Cullman for six serious violations and proposed $95,981 in penalties, which is set by federal statute.  

Specifically, OSHA found that Cullman failed to develop and use written lockout/tagout procedures, conduct periodic inspections of them, and ensure that employees were trained on them.

The company also failed to ensure that employees were placing locks when conducting lockout/tagout procedures and make sure machine guarding was in place for employees working in the pit.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

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