Safety and OSHA News

$1.75M fine in Goodyear safety settlement following 4 worker deaths

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has agreed to pay $1.75 million in connection with four separate incidents at its Danville, VA, plant that claimed the lives of four workers. 

The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health program (VOSH) says the agreement, which includes the United Steelworkers, lays out a process for the elimination of numerous hazards identified in 11 inspections in the last 18 months.

The agreement calls for $1 million to go to the state with $750,000 set aside for use at the Danville plant to abate hazards.

Investigations were conducted into four worker deaths:

  • 53-year-old Charles Cooper died of burns and drowning; his body was found in a pit of boiling water and oil which was almost seven feet deep that didn’t have barriers around it
  • Lack of proper machine control devices led to the death of Jeanie Strader, 56 who became caught in part of a machine
  • 54-year-old Kevin Edmonds was killed when he became pinned between a wall and a pallet, and
  • William Scheier was adjusting a machine that hadn’t been properly locked out when it activated and a part struck him.

Among the citations issued to Goodyear:

  • A floor hole into which people could walk wasn’t guarded by a guardrail, toeboard or cover
  • Lockout tags didn’t indicate the identity of the employee applying the device, and
  • Adequate training wasn’t provided on the facility’s energy control program.

A judge must sign off on the settlement for it to become final.

Goodyear also agrees to apply to VOSH’s Voluntary Protection Program. The VPP application process may take as long as five years. Goodyear will also host three VPP Best Practices Day training sessions for hundreds of employees from around the state during 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The Danville facility employs about 2,200 workers and manufactures aviation and specialty tires.

“Goodyear is committed to working in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United Steelworkers to continually identify hazards and improve the safety of our Danville plant,” said Greg Kerr, plant manager.

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