Published on June 4, 2014

OSHA fines retreader for alleged workplace hazards

By Miles Moore, Senior Washington Reporter

ELMIRA HEIGHTS, N.Y. (June 2, 2014) — An Elmira Heights tire retreading firm is facing more than $160,000 in fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged failure to correct workplace hazards discovered by OSHA inspectors, the agency said.

Inspectors from OSHA’s Syracuse office found 16 serious violations of workplace safety standards at the American Made Tires facility in July 2013, according to an OSHA press release. The agency defines serious violations as those that could probably cause death or serious injury to workers, and that employers either knew about or should have known about.

The violations OSHA found at American Made Tires included spray booths in the tire buffer area that was made of wood instead of a non-flammable material, as well as a total lack of lockout/tagout procedures for safe maintenance of machinery, the agency said.

OSHA ordered American Made Tires to correct the violations and fined the company $20,100. When the company failed to submit proof that the corrections had been made, OSHA conducted a follow-up inspection in November 2013, according to the agency.

The inspectors found most of the hazards were uncorrected, and on May 21, 2014, issued the company 12 failure-to-abate citations carrying $144,000 in fines.

Also on May 21, the agency issued $14,080 for three repeat violations and $2,200 for one new serious violation.

The repeat violations included use of hazardous electrical equipment, accumulation of flammable dust and the use of a spark-producing grinder in a flammable area, OSHA said. The new serious violation was the use of a portable electric lamp in a spraying area during operations.

Altogether, the new fines issued May 21 total $160,280. American Made Tires had 15 business days from May 21 to correct the violations and pay the fines, request an informal meeting with OSHA’s Syracuse area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Officials of American Made Tires could not be reached for comment. The American Made Tires facility in Elmira Heights was known previously as Green Diamond Tire of New York, a manufacturer of innovative remolded tires designed for winter traction.

Green Diamond closed the Elmira Heights plant in 2010, then opened a new plant in Sheridan, Colo., in 2012.

To reach this reporter: mmoore@crain.com.

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