A Canadian company with a manufacturing plant in North Jackson, west of Youngstown, has been cited for several safety violations following a fatal equipment accident that occurred last October.
A 21-year-old employee of Extrudex Aluminum was killed when a large metal stack filled with hot and heavy aluminum fell on top of him. A second worker suffered serious burn injuries in the accident.
Federal inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stated that Extrudex displayed "knowing disregard or plain indifference" to the potential for such a hazard at the worksite. The administration's area director in Cleveland, Howard Eberts, called the accident preventable, and said that OSHA "will not tolerate such disregard for worker safety."
The company has voiced strong disagreement with the safety agency's decision to cite it for eight separate violations. An Extrudex spokesperson stated that "there is nothing the company could have done to prevent this tragedy."
OSHA officials in turn dispute that view and have placed Extrudex into the agency's severe-violator program. That designation will result in it undergoing multiple and random government inspections and subject it to fines that could go as high as $175,000.
The company has about 140 workers at its Ohio-based facility. It has until May 14 to accept OSHA's findings, contest them or request a conference to discuss the matter.
In the meantime, Extrudex touts its safety record, saying that plant conditions where its employees work have always been among "the safest in the country." A company official says that Extrudex will pursue an administrative remedy and possibly take the matter to court.
Source: Columbus Dispatch, "OSHA cites Ohio plant in fatal accident," April 26, 2013