Glass Manufacturer Charged with More OSHA Violations at Indiana Plant
August 24, 2012

by Katie O'Mara,

Auto glass manufacturer Pilkington has been notified of additional Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety violations. The company was fined $150,000 for six violations at the end of July and the new violations bring fines of $453,000, the largest single set of penalties from OSHA in the state of Indiana since 2005. Pilkington, in turn, has filed a Notice of Intent to Contest the citations.

The inspection by OSHA comes almost two years after an employee was fatally injured in the plant while completing a maintenance operation in 2010. The employee, Kelly Caudill, died at the hospital later from injuries sustained in the accident. The Shelbyville plant was cited for OSHA violations following the tragedy.

According to an official from Indiana's Department of Labor, Pilkington employees alerted OSHA early in 2012 claiming that the company had not fixed all of the violations that it was supposed to have addressed from the 2010 inspection. While inspectors were at the Shelbyville facility investigating the employees' report they saw other safety issues that needed further investigation and ultimately led to these most recent violations.

In the latest notification from OSHA, Pilkington is fined for a variety of violations including repeat, knowing and serious violations. Knowing violations are characterized as safety issues that the company is aware of and has not fixed. These are considered the most egregious violations, next to repeat violations. As with the July safety order, some of the new violations pertain to paperwork and training concerns. Other violations include crushed glass on top of catwalk, wet floor conditions, lack of guardrails, blocked exit routes, flammable materials stored in rooms that did not have fire resistive rating or self-closing fire door, lack of guards protecting workers from pulleys and belts and lack of fall protection.

"The Shelbyville, Indiana plant was inspected by IOSHA in March 2012," reads a statement released by Pilkington. "IOSHA issued certain safety related citations relating to this inspection, some of which were corrected immediately. The remaining citations raised by the IOSHA inspectors are being evaluated for opportunities to enhance existing programs in line with our constant desire and push for continuous improvement in the safety of our workplaces."

The violations are required to be fixed and fines paid by September 14. On August 16, Pilkington filed a Notice of Intent to Contest the citations. The notice gives the company more time to complete discussions with IOSHA officials.

"In addition, an integral part of IOSHA's inspection and enforcement process is the chance to discuss informally with the agency any proposed citations to ensure their accuracy and the company has, and will continue to, participate in that process," reads Pilkington's statement. "IOSHA encourages such discussions and, where possible, amicable settlements. However, there is a short window for completing informal settlements and complicated matters often require additional time. Therefore, following a meeting with IOSHA on August 16, the company filed a Notice of Intent to Contest the citations in order to preserve our rights and continue discussions and negotiations with IOSHA aimed at resolving this matter, while doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our people.

Pilkington's request is currently with the Board of Safety Review and there is a possibility that, pending approval, the violations from both safety orders could be combined.

"The NSG Group has always strived to maintain the highest standards and expectations when it comes to the safety of our workers. We share a common goal with IOSHA, with the United Steelworkers and with our workforce, to provide a safe workplace for all our employees. The company will continue to work cooperatively and proactively with our employees and with IOSHA in this regard," reads Pilkington's statement.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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