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State slams glass factory with record safety fine

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The owners of a Shelbyville glass factory will pay a record-setting $495,500 in fines due to repeated safety issues, the state announced Wednesday.

The fines—and mandatory safety improvements—stem from two inspections in 2012 at Pilkington North America’s plant.

A worker’s death in 2010 prompted scrutiny from the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Soon after the accident, IOSHA issued several orders to Pilkington to fix safety issues. But a follow-up inspection in early 2012 found that violations persisted.

Another worker was injured in an unrelated accident in October 2012, prompting another inspection.

Inspectors found problems ranging from workers being exposed to “pinch points,” or places where they can become trapped or crushed, to inadequate warning signs and employee training.

Pilkington must comply with all safety corrections by the end of 2014, IOSHA says. The $495,500 penalty is the largest in IOSHA's history.

“This agreement stresses the seriousness of the safe operation of production machinery and will create a significantly safer workplace for Pilkington employees,” Labor Commissioner Rick Ruble said in a prepared statement. “The agreement shows a sincere commitment on the part of Pilkington North America to improve workplace safety.”

Pilkington’s parent company, Tokyo-based NSG Group, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying it intends to cooperate with IOSHA to address the safety concerns.

“The NSG Group has always strived to maintain the highest standards and expectations when it comes to the safety of our workers,” the company said. “We share a common goal with IOSHA, with the United Steelworkers and with our workforce, to provide a safe workplace for all our employees.”

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  • Walk the Talk
    The parent company is saying the right things. How about implementing the corrections without fines and repeated orders?

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  1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

  2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

  3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

  4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

  5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).

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