MAPLETON, Ill. (WMBD) — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is fining Caterpillar after an employee of a Mapleton foundry fell to his death in June.

Man who died at Caterpillar Foundry identified

On June 2, 2022, 39-year-old Steven Dierkes fell into a pot of molten iron which was over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. He was immediately incinerated.

According to a news release by the U.S Department of Labor, a federal investigation determined that Dierkes would have lived if the required safety guards or fall protection had been installed.

OSHA cited Caterpillar Inc. for one willful violation and proposed fines of $145,027.

Lisa Miller with Caterpillar Inc. Media Relations & Public Affairs said in response:

We continue to be deeply saddened by the death of an employee who was involved in a serious incident at our Mapleton, Illinois, facility on June 2. Our thoughts remain with this employee’s family, friends and colleagues. The safety of our employees, contractors and visitors is our top priority at all Caterpillar locations around the world. Regarding the serious safety incident that occurred, we will continue to engage with OSHA to seek an appropriate resolution to its review.

It was Dierkes’ ninth day on the job when the fatal fall happened.