Goodyear faces over $1M in Fines after 4 Employee Deaths

Danville, VA – The  Virginia Department of Labor has cited Goodyear’s Danville (VA) facility with nearly $850,000 in fines for workplace safety violations and about $165,000 for health violations. The state issued a grand total of 122 citations including 89 “serious,” four “willful-serious” workplace safety violations, and 26 “serious” and three “other-than-serious” health violations.goodyear employee deaths

In addition, Goodyear was also cited and penalized for the death of Charles “Greg” Cooper at the Danville Goodyear plant on April 12, and for separate non-fatal accidents in which an employee was burned by steam, a machine operator was injured when their arm got caught in a feed conveyor, and another was hurt when their arm got caught in a takeaway belt cement bridge roller.

The largest employer in the Danville area, the Goodyear Tire plant has been the scene of 4 employee deaths within the past year. Billy Scheier died on August 12 from blunt injuries to the chest and medical asphyxia. Greg Cooper died on April 12. Kevin Edmonds died during his work shift on March 31. And in August 2015, Jeanie Lynne Strader also died in an accident at the plant.

The Danville plant was cited for failing to maintain workroom floors in a clean and dry condition and Goodyear was also penalized for not having procedures for controlling “potentially hazardous energy.” These equipment-specific Lockout/Tagout procedures need to be followed before employees troubleshoot problems or perform maintenance on equipment.

VOSH found nearly two dozen instances and locations of inadequate machine guarding within the Danville facility. Their statement says that Goodyear did not provide methods for machine guarding to protect operators and other employees from hazards “such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip joints, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.”

Virginia Department of Labor also found untrained machine operators at the Danville Goodyear plant were exposed to 120-to-480-volt circuit conductors when opening cabinet doors to adjust timers and resetting overcurrent devices for machines. Arc Flash accidents generally happen lighting quick and without warning. The result of this violent event is usually destruction of the equipment involved, fire, and severe injury or death to any nearby people. Training is paramount to avoiding any electrical accident. The Martin Technical Arc Flash Risk Assessment, Labeling and Safety Program is one of the most comprehensive in the industry. Read more about our Arc Flash safety and training programs.

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Temp Worker Crushed by Machine in Toronto

Toronto, CANADA – Last week, emergency crews were called to the Fiera Foods Company and Bakery factory. There they found a 23-year-old woman in life-threatening condition after being crushed by a machine. The worker was a part-time employee hired from a temp agency, and had been working at the factory for less than a month. A co-worker anonymously reported that the woman was injured after her hijab was caught in a conveyor belt. She died after being transferred to a local hospital.machine crushes worker

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has since issued six orders for health and safety violations against Fiera Foods including requirements for assessing the conveyor line where the accident occurred, an order to provide an emergency control on the machine, and four other orders around the location and equipment involved in the woman’s death. Fiera is planning to initiate a review of their policies, procedures and safety systems.

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Locks Bypassed at WI Plant Result in Operator’s Death

Cedarburg, WI – OSHA plans to fine a Cedarburg (WI) manufacturing company nearly $125,000 following an inspection prompted by the death of a lathe operator and their finding that locks had been bypassed.

In March of this year, a 36-year-old employee of Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp. died after being caught in his lathe’s operating spindle as he polished a metal cylinder.

OSHA found that Carlson allowed the lathe and other machines to be olocks bypassedperated with their “safety interlocks” bypassed, thereby exposing workers to entanglement hazards. Safety interlocks were bypassed on nine different machines, according to OSHA. Because of this disregard for safety, OSHA has classified the violations as “willful.”

Additionally, Carlson was cited for not following proper procedures to power down equipment to prevent sudden starts. These types of procedures are known as lockout/tagout.

Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp. does drilling and machining at the Cedarburg (WI) plant, as well as building tooling.

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Behr Pleads Guilty in Case of Employee’s Death

Rockford, IL – Willful violation of lockout/tagout and confined space protections at Behr Iron & Steel resulted in an employee’s death at the recycling company’s South Beloit facility in 2014. This week, Behr representatives were in federal court where they plead guilty to willful violation of US safety standards.

The sentencing date is set for July of this year. Behr Iron & Steel faces a maximum sentence of 5 years’ probation and a maximum fine of $500,000. Additionally, it must pay restitution to the victim in an amount to be determined by the court.

The US Department of Justice charged that the metal scrap processing plant failed to provide lockout and tagout protection and confined space protection as required by OSHA regulations for employees tasked with cleaning a metal shredder discharge pit.

Behr admitted these violations caused the death of employee Alfredo Arrendondo, 39. Arrendondo died after his arm was caught in a moving, unguarded conveyor belt at the facility on March 10, 2014.

The US Attorney’s Office found that shredded metals at the Behr facility fell onto a conveyor belt located underground in a discharge pit approximately 6 feet long and 6 feet wide. Some metals fell off the belt into the pit, and one or two employees were sent down to clean it out daily by shoveling the metals from the floor onto a moving conveyor belt. It was in this area that Arrendondo’s arm was caught and he was killed by the unguarded live machinery.

In the plea agreement, Behr admitted that there was no lock or operable emergency shut off switch in the discharge pit, and the conveyor belt did not have guards to protect employees. Further, the company admitted that employees in the pit were not adequately trained to use the shredder or the conveyor belt, and there were not confined space protections for employees entering the pit.

In accordance with the plea agreement, Behr Iron & Steel must adopt procedures that ensure dangerous machines are properly shut off during maintenance and servicing work, including placing a lock on the power source and a tag on the lock warning that the machine cannot be operated. Additionally, OSHA regulations require safety precautions for workers in confined spaces.

Based in Rockford (IL), Behr Iron & Steel is a subsidiary of Joseph Behr and Sons Inc., a recycling company founded in 1906. the company employs about 450 people at 14 facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.

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NY Paper Worker Fatally Burned, International Paper on Severe Violators List

Essex County, New York – An employee of a Ticonderoga (NY) area paper mill was fatally burned in January 2015. Jorg Borowski, 57 years old, was caught in a flash fire while servicing air pollution equipment and died of his burns a day later. Owners of the International Paper Company have been faulted for numerous serious safety violations and face up to $210,000 in fines.

International Paper has been added to a special OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, aimed at companies that “have demonstrated indifference to (safety regulations) by willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.” OSHA linked the company’s failure to conduct annual safety inspections of the “fly ash bag house” where Borowski was working to identical violations at its plants in Chicago and Newark, Ohio, in 2011.

In citations filed by OSHA this week, the IP mill in Ticonderoga was faulted for not providing Borowski with fire-resistant protective clothing, for improper maintenance of fly ash pollution control equipment so that it introduced oxygen needed for the fire to ignite and for not having an automatic fire control system where Borowski was working to remove and replace burned, smoldering filter bags of combustible fly ash.

The system for collecting fly ash also failed to meet National Fire Protection Association standards and had been inadequately maintained, according to OSHA.

“This worker’s death was preventable. International Paper knew of these hazards and deficiencies and did not address them,” said Kim Castillon, OSHA’s area director in Albany. “While nothing can return this man to his daughter and co-workers, the company can and must take prompt and effective steps to ensure that this never happens again.”

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Machine Accident Kills Worker in Florida Recycling Plant

Winter Garden, FL – A worker was crushed to death in a recycling compactor accident this week at the Robert Wallick Associates, Inc., located in Winter Garden, FL.

Employee David P. Rossman, 43, was killed Monday when he was cru
shed to death in the compactor at Robert Wallick Associates, Inc – a recycling facility near Orlando. Rossman attempted to clear a jam in a massive cardboard compactor and bundling machine, and then fell into the machine.

He was sorting cardboard using a baler machine when he “somehow ended up inside and got compacted in a stack of cardboard,” said Winter Garden Police Lt. Scott Allen. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death.

Fire crews were called to the business at 8:52 a.m. and finally got to the man about 15 minutes later, a spokeswoman said. The cardboard compactor, whicmachine accidenth was running when the man was found, is at least 12 feet tall, with a 6-foot platform and a ladder needed to reach the top. Police Lt. Allen said there were several other employees working at the time, but none saw the accident.

OSHA will determine if the business was following the appropriate safety measures, and Winter Garden police are investigating this death as an accident.

The recycling center “buys, prepares and ships numerous recyclables to users worldwide.”

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$193K OSHA Penalty in WI Confined Space Death

Grantsburg, WI – An OSHA investigation into the death of a Burnett Dairy Cooperative employee identified two willful and eight serious safety violations at the Wisconsin dairy.

In November of 2014, a Burnett Dairy employee was attempting to unclog a sump when he was engulfed by corn and died in a grain bin. OSHA inspectors found that Burnett Dairy did not follow safety standards for entering grain bins. In a press release, OSHA said the company failed to deactivate a drag conveyor and allowed the worker to be in the bin while the corn was moving.

According to OSHA, the inspection found Burnett Dairy exposed the worker to engulfment hazards by not following required grain handling and Lockout/Tagout energy control procedures. OSHA also said the company violated confined space regulations by failing to have an attendant trained in confined space rescue for the worker while inside the grain bin.

Mark Hysell, OSHA’s area director in Eau Claire, said it takes just “seconds to become trapped in flowing grain…Burnett Dairy is familiar with the precautions to protect its workers, but failed to follow them. Life or limb should never be the cost of doing business.”

OSHA proposed penalties of $193,200 and placed the company in its Sever Violator Enforcement Program.

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Bumble Bee Faces Felony Charges in Horrific Death Due to Lockout Failure

Santa Fe Springs, CA – In October 2012, 62-year-old Jose Melena was cooked to death inside an industrial oven at Bumble Bee Foods’ Santa Fe Springs (CA) plant. Felony charges have now been filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney – Bumble Bee Foods and two of its employees have been charged with willfully violating safety rules.

Prosecutors say that workers unaware Melena was making repairs inside the pressurized steam cooker loaded 12,000 pounds of tuna into it and turned it on. This failure in employee safety training and lockout/tagout procedures resulted in Melena being tragically and avoidably cooked to death. During the two-hour heat sterilization process, the oven’s internal temperature rose to about 270 degrees. Melena’s severely burned remains were discovered by a coworker.

Bumble Bee Foods could be fined up to $1.5 million, and the plant’s director of operations and former safety manager could get three years in prison each. The two Bumble Bee employees involved face a maximum sentence of three years in state prison and/or a $250,000 fine if convicted. “Prosecutors and investigators from [the LA County DA’s] office have begun rolling out to major industrial incidents involving serious worker injuries and death,” DA Jackie Lacey says in a statement. “Our goal is to enhance the criminal prosecution of workplace safety violations.” Bumble Bee says it is “disappointed by the charges.”

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2 Dead in Australian Electrical Maintenance Accident

Morley, Australia – 2 energy workers were killed and 2 seriously injured this week in an explosion at Morley Galleria shopping center located in a suburb of Perth, Australia. Alan Cummins, age 30, was killed at the scene and Matt Hutchins, 22, died in Royal Perth Hospital shortly after the accident.

Employees of High Energy Solutions were performing routine maintenance near an electrical transformer. The exact cause of the explosion is as of yet unknown, but under investigation. Industry experts suspect that an arc flash blast caused the accident. The survivors are in intensive care recovering from burns and smoke inhalation at the Royal Perth Hospital. It has been reported that the injured are in critical condition, with burns to 60-80% of their bodies.

The mall was evacuated and closed temporarily due to power outage and emergency responders working to determine the extent of the accident and damage. Adjacent roads were also temporarily shut down.

In a statement released by High Energy Service Pty Ltd, general manager Brad Mitchell said: “This is a truly tragic day and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased persons and those of the injured employees… We will be fully co-operating with all the relevant authorities in their investigations and will be conducting our own investigation. Our focus at this moment is supporting those injured people and their families and our other employees.”

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