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Region 5 News Release: 14-117-CHI
Jan. 30, 2014
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA Cites Torrance Castings Inc. for 10 safety
violations after furnace operator fatally injured

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Torrance Castings Inc. has been cited for 10 safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a furnace worker was fatally injured at the La Crosse-based iron foundry while working alone in a permit-required confined space while conducting maintenance on July 29, 2013.

The 30-year-old male had been working at the foundry for about two years. He fell into an electrical inductive furnace that he was trying to reline.

"Torrance Castings has a responsibility to protect workers from known hazards. In this case, OSHA's permit-required confined space standards explain how to keep workers safe when entering these spaces," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Preventable deaths are completely unacceptable, and employers are responsible for ensuring that they do not happen at their facilities."

Nine serious violations were issued. Four violations involve OSHA's permit-required confined space program regulations. A permit-required confined space is a space that has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

The company was cited for failing to:

  • Implement a written confined space permit program and develop procedures and practices to allow safe entry for electric inductive furnaces.
  • Prepare an entry permit prior to entry into the inductive furnace.
  • Provide an attendant outside the permit space for the duration of the entry operation.