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Building Glass Maker Gets Record Fine

Friday, April 11, 2014

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A leading architectural glass manufacturer will pay a record $495,500 fine to settle state claims involving uncorrected violations after the death of a worker at one of its plants.

In an agreement filed Wednesday (April 9), the Indiana Occupational and Safety Administration consolidates four safety orders issued after two 2012 inspections of Pilkington North America, in Shelbyville, IN. The agreement was also signed by Keith Coon, president of United Steelworkers Local 7703, which represents the plant's workers.

Complaints and Accidents

The first inspection, in early 2012, was a follow-up to a September 2010 inspection that was triggered by a fatal accident.

Kelly Dean Caudill

IOSHA found that Pilkington had not corrected hazards at its plant since the death of Kelly Dean Caudill in 2010.

In that case, Kelly Dean Caudill, 56, a 19-year employee, became pinned under a conveyor at the Shelbyville plant while repairing the equipment, authorities said.

The IOSHA case involving Caudill's death was settled as four serious and three other-than-serious violations and a $15,000 fine. That case is not part of the new settlement.

The second 2012 inspection followed continuing safety complaints by workers at the 350-employee plant. Then, in an unrelated incident, another employee was seriously injured in October 2012 when he became stuck in a press at the plant.

The original citations from the 2012 inspections included dozens of willful, repeat and serious violations and more than $800,000 in fines.

Record Fine

The new agreement reflects a record fine for IOSHA, the agency said.

"This agreement stresses the seriousness of the safe operation of production machinery and will create a significantly safer workplace for Pilkington employees," Labor Commissioner Rick Ruble said in a statement.

Dalby Building
Pilkington North America

Pilkington produces glass for the architectural and automotive markets. Its products were used on the Dalby Building at Phoenix College in Phoenix, AZ.

The settlement requires Pilkington to complete all safety abatements by Dec. 31, 2014. Additionally, the company must:

  • Post warning signs on or near hazards;
  • Provide machine guarding training to employees; and
  • Provide "dedicated personnel to eliminate all remaining hazards."

The Shelbyville plant fabricates tempered glass for the automotive original equipment glass market.

Other Company History

Pilkington North America manufactures flat glass for the global architectural and automotive markets. The company is owned by Tokyo-based Nippon Sheet Glass Co. Ltd., also known as the NSG Group.

Pilkington operates multiple plants across North America, and OSHA records show employee complaints and/or fatalities at its plants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon.

OSHA records show 38 inspections of Pilkington facilities between 2005 and 2013, with citations issued on 26 occasions.

One group of citations followed the 2007 death of employee April Waxler, 30, who was struck and killed by a forkift at Pilkington's plant in Rossford, OH.

Pilkington R&D Center
Pilkington North America

The company operates sites across North America, including a one-acre solar field at its R&D Center in Northwood, OH.

Local newspapers described Waxler as a mother of three young children and a fairly new employee. OSHA said she had been walking to get her safety footwear when she was hit by a forklift piled high with boxes that obstructed the operator's view.

OSHA issued citations for two serious violations and reduced its original $15,000 fine to $7,000.

The Rossford plant was also the location of another accident in 2005 that is not detailed in OSHA's records.

In 2006, an employee died after tripping and falling at the company's plant in Lathrop, CA. The employee suffered a blood clot after surgery for his injury. The company was not cited in that case.

Company Response

In a statement Wednesday (April 9), Pilkington North America and NSG Group said in part:

"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 is committed to continue working cooperatively with Indiana OSHA to ensure compliance with applicable environmental, health, and safety requirements."

   

Tagged categories: Enforcement; Fatalities; Glass; Health and safety; OSHA; Windows

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