Created on Friday, 26 April 2013 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NORTH JACKSON, Ohio (AP) — A northeastern Ohio aluminum plant was cited with eight safety violations following the death of a worker who was crushed by a hot metal rack stacked with heavy aluminum, a federal safety agency said Thursday.
Extrudex Aluminum acted with knowing disregard or plain indifference to hazards at its plant in North Jackson, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a statement.
Extrudex said it disagrees with and will dispute OSHA's findings and will "pursue remedies at the administrative level and judicial level if necessary," according to a statement released by the company's attorney, Richard Goodman.
Extrudex's workplace "has always been one of the safest in the industry," the statement said.
OSHA's findings come more than a year after 21-year-old John Tomlin Jr., of Niles, was killed when he was pinned by a rack with heavy, hot aluminum parts, which also fell on him. Another 19-year-old worker was seriously burned but survived.
"Extrudex Aluminum could have prevented this tragic loss by protecting workers from hazards unique to its operation," Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland, said in the statement. "Workers should not be asked to take such risks, and OSHA will not tolerate such disregard for worker safety."
The statement from Extrudex disputes Eberts' comments, saying, "We believe there is nothing the company could have done to prevent this tragedy."
The statement added that the company has reviewed all its safety procedures and training programs and "will demonstrate that we continue to maintain a safe environment."
Extrudex, based in Canada with 140 employees at its North Jackson plant, is now in OSHA's severe violator program, will undergo targeted follow-up inspections and will be subject to fines of up to $175,000.
The company has until May 14 to comply, contest OSHA's findings before a review commission or request an informal conference with Eberts.