More is known about the Simpson County manufacturing plant where an Auburn woman sustained fatal injuries in June.
Toyo Automotive Parts USA in Franklin was fined last year for not following federal work safety rules adequately in its curing department, according to inspection records from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
A safety complaint was filed in July 2006 against the plant from an employee at Toyo Automotive Parts.
Toyo human resources manager David Schroeder said the identity of the employee who complained is unknown, but the complaint was about the curing department, where Toyo bonds metal to rubber with machines that operate at more than 300 degrees.
The complaint said employees in the curing department wear defective personal protective equipment, that the glove and arm guards given to employees were not adequate protection for the tasks performed, and that first aid supplies were not readily accessible, according to Schroeder.
OSHA fined Toyo Automotive Parts $975 for not providing adequate protective arm sleeves and gloves, and resolved the rest of the issues.
The case was closed last October, according to records.
Schroeder said Toyo's encounter with OSHA is being taken as a learning experience for the plant.
The protective wear would bunch up as a person would extend their arms to perform work, he said. Schroeder said that although he felt Toyo's arm and sleeve guards were adequate, it really depended on the size of the arm and sleeve guards that people put on.
Employees have been given an extra set of protective gloves, instead of just one pair, and first aid supplies have been made more conspicuous, he said.
“We did see an area for improvement and we did improve. We utilized it as a continuous improvement exercise. We now give them two sets of gloves, so if there is a hole that forms in one, they can immediately change into the new gloves,” Schroeder said.
Toyo also has responded by having burn kits on the curing lines so that employees can access the kits within seconds, Schroeder said.
The fine, issued last July, was less than a year before 39-year old Toyo Automotive Parts employee Tina Ann Hall sustained injuries on June 1.
According to Hall's obituary, the Auburn native died June 11 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville of injuries sustained in an accident at Toyo.
“OSHA has not concluded their investigation, so we're not at liberty to even comment until OSHA issues their final report,” Schroeder said. The report should be issued within the next month.
Schroeder said the place of Hall's accident in the metal preparation area and the curing department for the injection molding are on separate sides of Toyo Automotive Part's plant.
According to the 2007 Kentucky Occupational Safety & Health Surveillance (KOSHS) Program Report 2007 executive summary, the Kentucky industries at greatest risk for occupational injury were nursing care facilities, scheduled air transportation and motor vehicle manufacturing.
Kentucky's fatal work-related injury rate - seven deaths for every 100,000 workers - was 75 percent above the national fatality rate of four deaths for every 100,000 workers with the highest rates in the mining and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries.
State records also reveal other OSHA violations in the past for local manufacturers, which have since been resolved.
Rubber hose and belt-maker Bando Usa. Inc., in Bowling Green was inspected by OSHA in Sept. 23, 2005, after a complaint was filed. Four violations were found in the inspection, but the case was closed in May 2006. The violations dealt with the control of hazardous energy, overhead and gantry cranes, wiring methods, components and equipment for general use.
Since then, the plant has been inspected twice and as of May 2007, there were no violations.
Franklin Precision Industry, located at 3220 Bowling Green Road in Franklin, was found to have a “serious” violation of OSHA rules in March 2005. Later, Franklin Precision Industry was fined $975 for violating OSHA standards for general requirements for all machines in June 2005.
In 2005, a health complaint was filed against Nyloncraft at 100 North Graham Avenue in Bowling Green. A state inspection in September 2005 revealed a total of six OSHA violations issued in early 2006.
The violations all cited exposure to the chemical formaldehyde. The case was closed in February 2006 and Nyloncraft has yet to be inspected again since.
The latest data that shows the number of recordable injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time employees that resulted in days away from work, restricted work activity and/or job transfer that a company has experienced in any given time frame, according to OSHA, are known as DART rates. As of 2005, Toyo Automotive Part's DART rating was at 12.7, which is higher than the national average DART rate of 2.4.
Other DART Rates for some of the local manufacturers as released by OSHA include:
Bando Manufacturing of America, Bowling Green, 8.3
DESA US, Bowling Green, 4.2
Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Bowling Green, 0
Hill Pet Nutrition, Bowling Green, 0
Holley Performance Products, Bowling Green, 3.9
Nyloncraft, Inc., Bowling Green, 10.5
Renaissance Mark, Inc., Bowling Green 6.3
Trace Die Cast, Bowling Green, 9.5
J L French Corporation, Glasgow, 11.9
Arvinmeritor Inc, Franklin Manufacturing Center, Franklin, Dart Rate: .9
Franklin Precision Industry, Franklin, 16.8
New Mather Medals, Franklin, 13.4
Invensys Precision Die Casting, Russellville, 4.5