Ohio manufacturer faces $1.2M in penalties after 7th worker in 5 years suffers severe injuries when caught in machine employer failed to lock out
FOSTORIA, OH – An Ohio vinyl tile manufacturer faces $1,232,705 in proposed penalties after U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors responded when a worker suffered severe injuries as a result of being caught in a machine on April 28, 2022.
The incident marks the seventh injury at the NOX US LLC plant in Fostoria since February 2017 related to the company’s failure to follow required machine safety procedures. Since 2017, the company also recorded at least 13 serious injuries at the plant caused by exposure to burn and amputation hazards. OSHA placed the Fostoria plant in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program in 2017.
The April inspection found that the injured worker’s finger was first caught in a rotating spindle on a plastic winding machine and then their body was pulled around the machine’s spindle. The worker, who had been on the job just six weeks, suffered multiple severe injuries that required surgery.
OSHA cited the company for eight willful violations, one repeat violation and six serious violations, and one other-than-serious violation, for exposing workers to machine hazards, lacking personal protective equipment and failing to train their workers on safety hazards and precautions.
“NOX US LLC’s continued failure to correct previously identified hazards has led to another worker suffering severe and potentially life-altering injuries,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan in Chicago. “When an employer fails to ensure dangerous machines are guarded or de-energized properly, they show an indifference to worker safety, and the risk of serious injuries multiplies.”
Specifically, OSHA issued willful violations after inspectors noted the company frequently exposed workers to caught-in and amputation hazards by failing to prevent them from coming into contact with operating machine parts. NOX US failed to establish, test and require the use of machine lockout/tagout procedures or train workers on hazards. They also operated unguarded rollers and other equipment and exposed workers to trip and fall hazards from oil residue on floors and non-uniform stair risers.
“NOX US LLC continues to put profit before safety, and the company’s efforts when it comes to worker safety are unacceptable,” said OSHA Area Office Director Todd Jensen in Toledo, Ohio. “We will use all means necessary to hold this company accountable and to protect workers’ rights to a safe and healthy workplace.”
Based in Seoul, South Korea, NOX Corp. opened the Fostoria plant in November 2015. The company supplies luxury vinyl flooring to customers in more than 50 countries. The plant has about 200 employees.
OSHA’s machine guarding and control of hazardous energy webpages provide information on what employers must do to limit worker exposures to machine hazards.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.