Aludyne Faces Fines After Maintenance Technician Injured in Transformer Explosion

The worker was trying to replace a blown fuse on a transformer.

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Aludyne is a global manufacturer of aluminum, magnesium and iron cast and automotive components. The company has more than 30 facilities around the globe, including its Aludyne Columbus subsidiary in Columbus, Georgia. 

Last August, OSHA opened an employee complaint inspection at the auto parts maker, which was operating as Aludyne Columbus Foundry in Georgia. Six days after the investigation was initiated, federal safety investigators discovered that a 41-year-old maintenance technician sustained severe injuries suffered during an electrical transformer explosion. As a result, OSHA opened a second investigation. 

OSHA investigators found that the worker was severely injured by an arc flash while attempting to replace a blown fuse on a transformer. The worker was later taken to a nearby hospital.

Following both inspections, OSHA cited Aludyne Columbus for 22 serious and three other-than-serious violations, including failure to require employees to wear certified electrical suits while changing out electrical components in a high-voltage energized area and allowing workers to use non-insulated tools within approximately 12 inches of energized power lines.

OSHA found that workers were also exposed to an airborne concentration of respirable silica of up to 15 times above the permissible time-weighted average and failed to provide approved respirators to employees exposed to silicosis hazards. 

Aludyne Columbus also failed to provide PPE, like goggles and gloves, to workers handling chemicals. 

In a statement, OSHA Atlanta-West Area Office Director Jeffery Stawowy said Aludyne Columbus LLC's "failure to prioritize employee safety and health nearly cost a worker their life."

OSHA proposed $182,344 in penalties, an amount set by federal statute, and the company has contested the findings.

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