TOPEKA, Kan. — The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined Goodyear $27,713 for alleged safety violations at its Topeka plant in connection with the March 14 death of a contract worker in the facility's storeroom.
James Lay Jr., 61, an employee of Kansas Personnel Services temporarily assigned to Goodyear, was killed when a falling object struck him in the head.
OSHA Region 7, which covers Kansas, investigated the incident and issued three serious citations against Goodyear June 6.
The first citation was for hazardous storage of material.
"In the Stores area, the employer is failing to ensure that the storage of material does not create a hazard," OSHA said in its citation. "Various diameters and lengths of metal are stored leaning against the wall unrestrained." The proposed penalty for this alleged violation was $12,675.
In the second citation, OSHA said that pendant control boxes in the Topeka plant were not constructed to prevent an electrical shock.
One pendant control box each in Plant 1 and Plant 2 were damaged, and employees were exposed to a shock hazard as a result, the agency said. The fine for this penalty was $5,079.
The third citation alleged that alloy steel chain slings were not being inspected regularly. One chain sling in Plant 2 had not been inspected since Aug. 13, 2015, and three others were not inspected between that date and Dec. 22, 2016, according to OSHA. It levied a penalty of $9,959 for that violation.
As is usual with OSHA citations, Goodyear has 15 working days from the date of the citations to meet with OSHA officials to discuss the citations, pay the fines and correct the violations, or formally contest the citations.
In a statement, Goodyear said it was following the standard administrative process for responding to OSHA citations.
“This is part of the formal process to engage with OSHA on its findings and seek a mutually acceptable resolution,” the tire maker said. “We can't discuss specifics while the discussions are in progress.”
During the investigation, the tire maker said that "nothing is more important to Goodyear than ensuring a safe work environment within all our facilities."
Goodyear also said it has robust safety systems in place at all its facilities, and it works constantly to strengthen those programs through ongoing contractor training, voluntary inspections and rigorous safety audits.
Goodyear employs 1,600 at the 73-year-old Topeka plant.
In February 2017, Goodyear made a $1.75 million settlement with the Virginia Department of Labor over four workplace deaths that occurred at Goodyear's Danville, Va., plant between August 2015 and August 2016.