OSHA Proposes $145K Fine Against Caterpillar After Worker Death in Ohio

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed fines of $145,027 against Caterpillar Inc. for not installing a guardrail or travel restraint at a foundry outside Peoria where a worker fell into molten iron in June.

Steven Dierkes, 39, of Peoria, died instantly after falling into a crucible at the Mapleton foundry, the Peoria County coroner said. The foundry manufactures cast iron engine components, the Journal Star reported.

The OSHA investigation found “the foundry routinely exposed employees to unprotected fall hazards” while they worked within 4 feet (1.2 meters) of containers of molten iron.

Caterpillar has 15 business days penalties to comply, request a conference or contest the findings.

“We will continue to engage with OSHA to seek an appropriate resolution to its review.” Caterpillar spokeswoman Lisa Miller said.

Dierkes’ death was the second to occur at the Mapleton foundry in six months. Last December, Scott Adams of East Peoria fell to his death. Adams is believed to have fallen over 20 feet through a hole in the floor, OSHA said.

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