Goodyear temporarily closed the Danville plant to complete a full evaluation of the factory and thoroughly investigate the incident, it said. The shutdown occurred April 12, and the plant reopened on April 15.
“Our hearts go out to the family, friends and co-workers of the employee during this very difficult time,” the company said.
In a second statement, plant Manufacturing Director Greg Kerr said the company's “immediate priority is to provide support and assistance to Greg's family, as well as the entire team of associates in the Danville plant as we cope with the loss of a teammate.”
On the day the factory resumed normal operations, Goodyear issued another statement noting that the investigations are ongoing.
“As associates return to their jobs,” the tire maker said in the statement, “the plant team will be keeping the safety and well-being of our associates as the highest priority.
“At the start of each shift, plant associates participated in a two-hour safety meeting where they were given the opportunity to ask questions and share any comments they may have.”
Goodyear also continued to provide counselors onsite throughout the following week.
The Goodyear spokeswoman said the company will not provide further comment on the active investigations or the first accident at the factory in August 2015.
Mike Wright, director of health, safety and environment for the United Steelworkers, said the union was conducting a joint investigation with the tire maker into what caused the latest fatality and the accident that led to the death March 31 of another plant employee — 54-year-old Kevin Edmonds — in an industrial accident.
An autopsy revealed that the cause of Mr. Edmonds' death was asphyxiation.
The USW sent an investigator to the Danville plant immediately after it learned about the accident, he said.
“We look at root causes and other contributing factors,” Mr. Wright said. OSHA, on the other hand, is primarily looking at violations of standards.
“There are lots of issues that must be reviewed,” he said, adding that he could not supply further specifics about the probe at this point. The investigation, while not complete, will be thorough, he added. He did not have a timetable on when he thought the probe would be complete.