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Company cited by OSHA after fatality at manufacturing plant

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Jan 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM

PPG Industries, an optical and specialty material manufacturer, has been cited with serious and willful safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a fatality occurred at the company’s Barberton facility. In this case, on July 15, 2013, a worker became entangled in an unprotected spindle winder, resulting in the employee’s death.

“It’s unacceptable that PPG Industries failed to ensure adequate machine guards were in use and that the equipment was properly deenergized,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Companies must implement safeguards, create a culture of safety and ensure OSHA regulations are followed to ensure that no employee is injured or killed on the job.”

OHSA issued one willful citation for failure to ensure machine guarding was provided to protect the operator and other employees working in the machine area from its hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for, or plain indifference to, employee safety and health.

Additionally, OHSA issued two serious citations to PPG Industries for failure to utilize lockout/tagout procedures and ensure equipment was deenergized prior to doing servicing/maintenance of equipment. The company also failed to conduct periodic inspections of authorized employees on lockout/tagout procedures. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA has proposed penalties of $69,000 for the violations. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

PPG Industries employs160 people at the Barberton facility and has approximately 39,000 total employees.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Cleveland Area Office at 216-447-4194.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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