State slams glass factory with record safety fine

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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