Caterpillar Worker ‘Immediately Incinerated’ After Tragic Fall
Caterpillar is a highly successful Fortune 500 company. With plants plastered all around the country, the company continues to excel. However, the massive manufacturing company has just been cited and penalized for a tragic death of an employee that happened over the summer.
HORRIFIC TRAGEDY INCINERATES WORKER
39-year-old Steve Dierkes was working his 9th day as a melting specialist at a Caterpillar location in Mapleton when tragedy struck. As Dierkes was working, he tragically fell into a huge tub of molten iron.
Dierkes was "immediately incinerated" after falling into an 11-foot-deep pot full of iron that was two times hotter than volcanic lava. OSHA immediately opened an investigation and discovered startling errors.
INVESTIGATION FROM OSHA
"Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined the foundry routinely exposed employees to unprotected fall hazards as they worked within four feet of deep ceramic containers of super-heated molten iron," OSHA said in a statement.
LACK OF SAFETY BY THE COMPANY
Guardrails, among other safety restraints, are required to keep employees safe while they are working around highly dangerous areas like Dierkes was that tragic day. "If required safety guards or fall protection had been installed, the 39-year-old employee's ninth day on the job might not have been their last," OSHA sadly commented.
"Caterpillar's failure to meet its legal responsibilities to ensure the safety and health of workers leaves this worker's family, friends, and co-workers to grieve needlessly," said OSHA Area Director Christine Zortman in Peoria, Illinois.
FINE AND CITATION
The massive manufacturer was fined $145,027. Caterpillar has 15 business days from the time of OSHA's citation to either comply or request an informal conference with OSHA's area director to discuss the matter further. They also have the option to contest the findings and citations in front of the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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