Federal investigators say an explosion that caused the death of a maintenance supervisor and injuries to 15 other employees was due to failure by a foundry’s failed safety procedures.

Officials say the operator, I. Schumann & Co. LLC, failed to protect workers from the hazard of steam explosions.

Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned the explosion happened while employees inspected a water leak on a furnace used to smelt solid metals.

OSHA determined water leaked onto the molten metal inside the furnace, causing a steam explosion. Inspectors found the company did not make sure that required lockout/tag out procedures were followed during the inspection of the furnace.

“This terrible tragedy could have been avoided if the employer followed well-known machine safety standards that are meant to prevent this type of explosion,” explained OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland, Ohio. “Sadly, a worker lost his life and 15 others were hurt in an incident that was entirely preventable. It’s exactly why employers need to follow required safety procedures and train their employees.”

OSHA cited the company for six serious violations and has proposed $62,500 in penalties. The foundry remains closed since the explosion.

Based in Bedford since 1917, I. Schumann & Co. today recycles material into metal alloys, ingots and pellets.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply