Eleven Fuyao Glass America workers filed a written complaint today with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) saying they are “extremely concerned about the safety of our workplace,” according to a copy of the complaint provided by the United Auto Workers (UAW).
“The employees came to us for help,” says LaTonya Coleman, a UAW organizer. The UAW helped the workers to prepare the complaint.
The complaint mentions that OSHA issued one citation, alleging two “serious” violations at Moraine, Ohio-based facility in late April. The monetary penalty associated with the citation is $14,000.
“Please consider this letter a formal complaint and request that OSHA continues and expand its investigation into health and safety programs,” according to the letter.
At least six workers in the past month or so have been seriously cut in the lamination areas, the workers write in the complaint.
“Workers in the lamination areas have asked for cut-resistant gloves to protect our hands, but management says that we cannot have them because they leave residue on the glass,” according to the document.
The workers also say there are “not proper lockout and tag-out procedures throughout the plant.”
“On April 28, a worker got her shirt caught in a conveyor belt that was missing its safety guards at Post E-44, risking serious injury,” according to the complaint. “Fortunately, several workers were able to rush to her rescue before she was hurt. Many of the conveyor belts in the plant lack guards.”
Ken Montgomery, director of the Cincinnati, Ohio, OSHA office, confirmed that he received the complaint, according to a local report.
Fuyao Glass America recently hired a former OSHA compliance officer, says Dave Burrows, vice president of facilities.
“We have not been contacted by OSHA so it’s hard for us to comment,” he adds. “We work very hard to keep people safe. We have a lot of suppliers that come in here everyday offering cut-proof gloves and shirts. We’ve made great decisions on great materials. We provide cut-proof gloves, sweaters and metatarsal boots. We also ensure our employees wear hard helmets.”
Safety is a top priority for the company, says John Gauthier, president of Fuyao Glass America.
“Safety is something we are aware of 24 hours a day,” says Gauthier. “We have places where we can improve and we’re working on that. Our policy is that people always wear gloves. If one of our employees is provided wrong information, we will correct it.”
At the time of the citation in April, OSHA had received four complaints about safety at Fuyao Glass America, an OSHA spokesperson said. Three of the complaints were filed in October 2015. The fourth was filed in February 2016. OSHA found no violations for two of the complaints and the inspections were closed. The third resulted in the citation. An inspection for the February complaint is ongoing.
To read a copy of the complaint, click here.