Dec. 17, 2014
Formed Fiber Technologies ignores violations and
exposes workers to dangerous machinery and risk of serious injury
Toyota, GM parts manufacturer named severe violator; faces $140K in fines
SIDNEY, Ohio – For the third time since October 2013, Formed Fiber Technologies LLC has been cited for putting workers at risk of amputation and other serious injury by exposing them to dangerous, moving machine parts. The Sidney facility produces motor vehicle interior trimmings for Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co. and other manufacturers and was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2013 and twice in 2014. Earlier this year, Formed Fiber was placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program for its failure to address its safety violations.
"Formed Fiber Technologies has a culture that values production and profit over workers' safety," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "Employees have suffered puncture wounds, lacerations and other serious injuries because the company has failed to protect them from dangerous machines. OSHA is committed to doing all it can to force needed changes at Forced Fiber Technologies."
OSHA issued two willful citations, with proposed penalties of $140,000, during a June 2014 inspection. The agency found that when workers changed molds on trim presses, steps were not taken to ensure the equipment would not unintentionally operate during the changing process. The company also failed to conduct audits of the procedures used to ensure that employees did not work with live machinery. These types of violations are among the most frequently cited by OSHA and often result in death or permanent disability.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
OSHA cited Formed Fiber Technologies previously in October 2013 for 11 violations, many of which involved the same standards. The company entered into a settlement agreement that included terms involving the abatement of hazards and paying a $69,000 penalty. Formed Fiber Technologies then violated the agreement by providing false documentation and assurances that hazards related to hydraulic presses had been corrected, and was cited again in July 2014 in response. The company has contested those violations and associated proposed penalties of $816,500.
View the current citations at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/FormedFiberTechnologies_980310_1205_14.pdf*.
The company, based in Auburn, Maine, manufactures nonwoven fabrics and polyester staple fibers for the automotive industry. It employs 750 workers companywide, with 340 at the Sidney facility.
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. The company has contested the citations.
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 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: 14-2219-CHI
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