IBJNews

Shelbyville factory in trouble again, faces record IOSHA fines

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday it has issued a record fine after an inspection at a Shelbyville glass factory.

Pilkington North America faces $453,000 in proposed penalties after state inspectors detected 29 safety violations at the plant, according to agency documents.

The next-largest set of fines IOSHA has on record was $332,250 that BP paid in a 2006 settlement for violations at its oil refinery in Whiting, said Bob Dittmer, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Labor, which includes IOSHA.

Pilkington’s 350-employee Shelbyville factory produces glass for automakers such as Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and General Motors. Toledo, Ohio-based Pilkington North America is a subsidiary of NSG Group, which has its headquarters in Tokyo.

The safety allegations, which IOSHA issued to the company Monday, follow $150,000 in fines that IOSHA charged the company in July for six “repeat” violations. Those fines stemmed from a follow-up investigation after the company received $32,000 in fines—later reduced to $15,000—in November 2010 after a worker died on the job.

An Aug. 18 IBJ story detailed Pilkington's struggles to address IOSHA's safety concerns.

The catalyst for the safety inspections was the September 2010 death of 59-year-old maintenance technician Kelly Dean Caudill of Connersville.

Caudill, who worked at Pilkington for 19 years, was repairing a conveyor that moves broken glass that another company recycles and resells. A nearby air cylinder activated and crushed Caudill. He later died at a hospital.

The initial, post-accident investigation and the follow-up earlier this year targeted specific issues at the plant.

IOSHA returned to the plant most recently because employees complained of ongoing facility-wide safety problems, Dittmer said.

This time, the agency was more thorough as staff conducted a “comprehensive” inspection, also known as a “wall-to-wall.”

“We inspected everything, overturned ever single rock we could lay our hands on,” he said.

In the report, violations ranged from missing warning signs to knowingly exposing workers to dangerous machinery without proper safety guards, IOSHA records state.

Pilkington spokeswoman Roberta Steedman wrote in an e-mail that the company has corrected some of the issues while it is evaluating others to determine how to address concerns.

Pilkington has filed paperwork saying it intends to appeal the July safety orders.

The company said it intends to keep informally meeting with IOSHA to discuss the citations.

“However, there is a short window for completing informal settlements, and complicated matters often require additional time,” Steedman wrote.

Pilkington notified IOSHA it would contest the safety orders to “preserve [its] rights and continue discussions and negotiations with IOSHA aimed at resolving this matter, while doing everything possible to ensure the safety of [its] people.”

The case is set to go before an administrative law judge, who will rule whether the company must comply with IOSHA’s orders and pay the fine if there is no settlement.

Pilkington has until Sept. 14 to correct the newest safety orders and pay the penalty or contest the violations. The company can also set up an informal meeting to review the report’s details and set up a timetable to address IOSHA’s concerns.

If the auto supplier chooses to appeal the most recent violations, as well, the judge could decide whether to combine the two cases into one.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • anonymous
    Pilkington is a joke...I've worked in construction for the past ten years in the union and in my experience there compared to pilkington is crazy...there are a lot of hardworking ppl there but also lazy lazy inconsiderate ppl.... that's when ppl die or get hurt...OSHA is trying to get$$$$ paid off of a death of an employee... didnt know him but I would not doubt that someone wasn't doing the right thing so OSHA and pilkington needs to address how the safety orientations are conducted and find good loyal employees that care about safety rather than just showing up for a paycheck...that's my 2 cents
  • @David
    You expect people to quit a job theyve had for 10-15years, losing seniority and pay raises, if the working conditions have become dangerous? No employee complaint started this process; someone died. The government protects consumers as well. Obviously, you're ignorant(not an insult, you're just uninformed)
  • Really?
    Did you miss this sentence? "The catalyst for the safety inspections was the September 2010 death of 59-year-old maintenance technician Kelly Dean Caudill of Connersville."
  • Leave government out
    This is what is wrong with our country. If people don't like the working conditions, then get another job. Don't complain to the government, which shouldn't be sticking their noses into Pilkington anyway.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Choice between a democrat and a question mark? Take the question mark. We have all seen what the democrats will do.

    2. Its easy to blame workers. What about the Management of the Mill. Its not smart in business to not have a back up plan. Workers are afforded sick days in most cases. Union or not. Whether drunk partying, or a real sickness. Why would you as a businessman/woman not have a rotation of workers incase this happens. This is not an exclusive union protection. If the company can prove bad intentions on the part of any union employee. They can take action. Most CBA's have a 3 strike policy. Just like most Non-union company policies. You should read a CBA sometime. There are protections for companies too. Unions understand that businesses need to make money. If they don't, the union's member won't have a place to work.

    3. My kids play hockey on the North side and we have been very happy with the youth program. More Ice would create more opportunity for kids to pay this great sport. With 3 rinks that would also create more figure skating opportunities. What better gift to give your kids than a sport they will love!

    4. Naah, only Indy place fans were robbed of seeing Zanardi race. CART fans saw his amazing talents just about every weekend. And F1 fans saw him too. Zanardi didn't care he wasn't at Indy, neither do 99.18% of other race fans world wide. And CART fans are quite pleased of the domination of their drivers and owners have had at Indy, in the IRL, and in the current Indycar series....almost 99.18% of the time since 2000 Indy 500. I respect Zanardi, but his life goes on without Indy. Sucks to be you Capt.

    5. So let me get this right: gun permits online are fraud proof, but voting is as easy as 1-2-3.--But at least we agree that someone without a photo ID cannot be trusted with a gun.

    ADVERTISEMENT