May 11, 2015
Workers risk serious injuries and amputations
at Bellefontaine, Ohio, rubber-hose manufacturing plant
HBD/Thermoid faces $134K in fines after 11 OSHA safety violations
BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio – A rubber-hose manufacturer in Ohio continues to put workers at risk of amputations and serious injuries by ignoring safety rules for industrial machines, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found after an October 2104 inspection.
OSHA cited HBD/Thermoid Inc., in Bellefontaine, for one willful and 10 serious safety violations and faces $134,000 in proposed penalties. The inspection was opened under OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program. In May 2014, a worker was killed after being caught in an industrial machine at the company's North Carolina location.
"HBD/Thermoid must act now and put required safety guards on large industrial machines. These machines are used by workers who cut and manufacturer rubber hoses at the company's six facilities across the country," said Kim Nelson, area director of OSHA's Toledo office. "Each year, more than 200,000 workers are injured by machines in the United States. Each day, an average of 12 workers are killed on-the-job. Employees and their families pay the painful price emotionally and economically when companies don't follow standards to reduce injuries."
A willful violation was cited for failing to protect workers from the operating parts of hose balers and hose feed equipment during the manufacturing process.
Workers were also found to be in danger of amputation because machines were not shut down properly before repair and maintenance. The machines were also operated without proper safety devices. Inspectors also noted that work platforms and elevator shafts lacked adequate guardrails to protect workers from falls; electrical parts were not de-energized prior to performing work; and personal protective equipment to safeguard workers from electrical shock was not provided. A total of 10 serious safety violations were issued.
View the current citations at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/HBDThermoid_1007813_042015.pdf*.
HBD/Thermoid employs about 1,000 workers corporatewide and manufactures hoses used in a variety of industries, such as transportation, food processing and agriculture. The company also has facilities in Bell Gardens, California; Chanute, Kansas; Salisbury, North Carolina; Oneida, Tennessee; and Eglin, South Carolina.
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.
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 Toledo Area Office at 419-259-7542.
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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Release Number: 15-739-CHI
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