OSHA cites Waukesha Iron & Metal after worker’s death

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Sept. 2, 2015

WAUKESHA - Waukesha Iron & Metal was cited for 11 alleged violations by U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Monday after an employee died while working at the business in March.

OSHA alleges Waukesha Iron & Metal, 1351 E. Main St., did not safely handle compressed gas cylinders or require workers to wear protective head equipment, in addition to some forklifts being unsafe. OSHA also reported the company did not train employees on operating the forklifts safely.

A representative of Waukesha Iron & Metal said the company did not have any comment Tuesday.

OSHA cited the company Aug. 31 for nine serious and two other-than-serious safety violations. Proposed penalties total $42,000.

Ken J. LaChance of Mukwonago, 52, was killed while working at Waukesha Iron & Metal on March 4 after a large liquid oxygen tank struck him in the head. LaChance had worked at the company for a few years after spending most of his career as a heavy hauler for Spancrete. He headed Waukesha Iron & Metal’s entire mechanics department.

In its release Tuesday, OSHA said LaChance was working without head protection and was hoisting an oxygen cylinder onto the forklift when he was struck.

“Proper safety training in using forklifts and handling cylinders and protective head safety gear could have prevented this tragedy,” said Christine Zortman, OSHA’s area director in Milwaukee, in a statement. “Common-sense safety precautions should always be priority one on any work site.”

Waukesha Iron & Metal has 15 days from the date of receiving the letter from OSHA to determine if it will contest the citations.

Waukesha Metal & Iron has been operating since 1956, processing large scrap metal parts, including those from salvaged vehicles.