August 24, 2023
Risks Ignored: NOX US faces $545K in new penalties after 14th worker in 6 years suffers injuries at Fostoria vinyl manufacturing plant
US subsidiary of global company cited for workplace safety failures in 2017, 2020, 2022
FOSTORIA, OH – An Ohio-based vinyl tile manufacturer with a history of failing to protect workers from hazards at its Fostoria plant dating back to 2017, now faces an additional $545,853 in federal penalties after investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an inspection at NOX US LLC, following a report of a finger amputation in February 2023. Investigators learned a 56-year-old machine operator suffered the injury when their gloved finger became caught in a chain and sprocket system that didn’t have required safety guards in place.
After the March inspection and a required follow-up in May 2023 stemming from a prior inspection, OSHA cited the company for three willful violations, two repeat violation, three serious and two other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to machine hazards by failing to employ adequate lockout and tagout procedures, train workers properly and guard machinery as required by law.
OSHA cited the company for similar violations in October 2022 and proposed $1.2 million in penalties, a finding currently being contested by NOX US. Fourteen workers at the plant have suffered injuries, including numerous cases of severe amputations since 2017, the same year OSHA added the Fostoria plant to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
With the March and May inspections still in process, OSHA opened another inspection at the facility on July 20, 2023, after receiving a report that a worker had suffered chemical burns.
“Despite repeated citations and penalties, the company continues to expose employees to dangerous hazards and allows them to operate unguarded machines,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan in Chicago. “NOX US is failing to meet their legal responsibility to provide employees with a safe and healthy work environment, and they must change the way it operates before another employee is needlessly injured.”
Based in Seoul, South Korea, NOX Corp. opened the Fostoria plant in November 2015. The company manufactures vinyl flooring for customers in more than 50 countries. The plant has about 200 employees.
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.
Release Number: 23-1726-CHI