After a worker fell into an 11-foot deep pot of molten iron heated to over 2,000 degrees, this summer, the company that employed him has been fined.
39-year-old Steve Dierkes was a melting specialist at a Caterpillar foundry. They make cast iron engine parts in Mapleton, Illinois. Dierkes was immediately incinerated after falling into the big tub of molten iron, on June 2. He had only been with the company for 9 days before he died.
Caterpillar, a Fortune 500 company and construction equipment producer, received a citation for one willful violation and will have to pay a $145, 027 fine.
Investigative reports found that the foundry often exposed workers to unprotected fall hazards as they worked close to deep ceramic containers of extremely hot molten iron.
Federal safety guidelines make it mandatory for the company to have guardrails and restraint equipment to ensure that employees don’t fall like Dierkes did.
Caterpillar now has 15 business days from the time of the citation to either comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings and citation.