October 23, 2019
Managers Sentenced to Probation and Ordered to Pay Fines for Conspiracy
To Obstruct Justice in U.S. Department of Labor Fatality Investigation
CLEVELAND, OH – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has sentenced Brian L. Carder and Paul Love – former managers at Extrudex Aluminum’s plant in North Jackson, Ohio – after each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice charges. The court’s action follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) that found the managers attempted to hide information and intimidate employees from speaking to the Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigators about an employee fatality in October 2012.
On October 15, 2019, Carder was sentenced to three years of probation with weekend only confinement for the first five months and ordered to pay a fine of $20,100. On October 22, 2019, Love was sentenced to three years of probation – including three months of home confinement – and ordered to pay a fine of $1,100.
OSHA’s investigation found that, on October 30, 2012, the 21-year-old employee suffered fatally injuries when a rack containing hot aluminum parts tipped over and pinned him in an oven. A co-worker also suffered severe injuries. In a settlement agreement with OSHA, Extrudex Aluminum accepted one willful and seven serious citations, and agreed to pay a $112,000 penalty.
The indictment states Carder and Love devised a plan to coerce subordinates – by suggesting their jobs might be in jeopardy – to draft statements to recant previous emails about safety issues at the plant to conceal that management had not acted on those concerns. During an OSHA interview, Love also gave false information about safety issues.
“Employers cannot mislead or coerce workers to mislead federal investigators. Further, employers are required to operate workplaces free of hazardous conditions posing risk to worker safety and health,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “We commend the cooperation of our federal partners in the prosecution of this case.”
On August 1, 2019, the District Court sentenced Extrudex Aluminum to three years’ probation, and ordered the company to pay a $250,400 fine after pleading guilty to concealing knowledge of a felony in connection with efforts to hide information from OSHA inspectors. The company must also have an outside safety auditor monitor their workplace for compliance for the next two years. During the sentencing hearing, Extrudex Aluminum provided the court with information on how the company has now fully automated the extrusion heating process to prevent employee exposure to the hazard that led to the fatality.
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio prosecuted the cases, with assistance from the Department’s OIG and OSHA.
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 help ensure these conditions for American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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Release Number: 19-1806-CHI
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