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OSHA death investigation finds Caterpillar failed to install safety equipment

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An OSHA investigation into a June death at Caterpillar’s Mapleton facility found the workplace is not compliant with safety standards.

According to a news release, 39-year-old Steven Dierkes of Peoria might not have fallen into a pot of molten iron if safety guards and fall protection measures had been installed. Federal regulations require guardrails and restraint systems installed in foundries to protect workers from falls into dangerous equipment.

OSHA cited Caterpillar Inc. for one willful violation and proposed fines of just over $145,000. Caterpillar has 15 business days to comply with the citation, request an informal conference with an area OSHA director, or contest the investigation’s findings with an independent review commission.

This was the second fatal fall at the Mapleton site in a period of less than six months. OSHA cited two contractors for the fatal fall of 50-year-old Scott Adams of Peoria in December 2021.

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Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.