U.S. launches safety inspections of Southern auto suppliers

Lindsay Chappell
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: August 6, 2014 10:58 am ET
Updated: August 6, 2014 11:02 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Public Policy, United States

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. — Alarmed by what it calls higher than normal incidents of injuries and safety lapses, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration has launched an inspection of auto parts plants across Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, a top agency official said. 

The federal safety agency plans to send field agents to inspect some 2,900 factories — literally every auto parts plant in those three states — during the coming year.

But as suppliers gather here in Northern Michigan for an annual industry outlook conference, they may be surprised to discover that safety troubles in the South are not out of line with Detroit.

Labor data indicates that Michigan’s parts industry is faring worse than its Southern counterparts.

For 2012, the most recent year for federal labor statistics, Alabama auto parts manufacturing had 4.8 OSHA injury and illness incidents per 100 employees, and Georgia had 3.7 per 100. Michigan auto parts plants recorded 6.3 OSHA incidents per 100 employees during the same period, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Mississippi does not report injury data.

Benjamin Ross, assistant regional administrator for OSHA Enforcement Programs in the agency’s Atlanta office, told Automotive News, a sister publication of Plastics News, in an interview last week the agency has seen increased levels of incidents from inadequate machine safety guards and protection from electrical shock. The site inspections will look closely at those areas, he says.

OSHA safety fines can range from about $5,000 to $200,000 per infraction.

Trade associations in the three states are scrambling to prepare their auto-part manufacturers for the wave of inspections. Davis Woodruff, a 30-year manufacturing consultant from Alabama, has been working with plants across the region to help them identify problems before the inspectors arrive.

“They are coming,” Woodruff warns, “but there’s no reason why any of these companies shouldn’t have a thorough safety program already in place. It makes no sense why any manufacturer isn’t doing everything possible to protect its employees.”

Ross says that OSHA has observed that attitudes toward formal, closely monitored safety programs differ from supply chain to supply chain. Some automakers do not require suppliers to meet safety standards, he says.

“If the auto manufacturers would make having a formal safety program a pre-requisite to do business with them, this would all be so easy,” he says. “If the customer required all their parts suppliers to do it, they would.”


Comments

U.S. launches safety inspections of Southern auto suppliers

Lindsay Chappell
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: August 6, 2014 10:58 am ET
Updated: August 6, 2014 11:02 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Judge limits scope of jury verdict against JM Eagle

December 19, 2014 2:30 pm ET

A federal judge in Los Angeles said Dec. 18 that last year's jury verdict issued against J-M Manufacturing Co. — now JM Eagle — for...    More

Image

Jarden hiring for new plastics plant

December 19, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Consumer products conglomerate Jarden Corp. is hiring plastics technicians for a new operation in Erlanger, Ky.    More

Image

Antimicrobial polymers firm TiFiber launching pilot production in Ark.

December 19, 2014 10:58 am ET

TiFiber Inc., which makes synthetic compounds to control dangerous microorganisms, will locate a pilot production facility and its future company...    More

Image

Spray PU foam aids in NASA launch

December 19, 2014 9:22 am ET

NASA's test of the Orion spacecraft earlier this month took advantage of spray polyurethane foam insulation from North Carolina Foam Industries...    More

Image

Sabic: Rapid demand growth led to Ultem shortage

December 18, 2014 12:06 pm ET

Sabic Innovative Plastics has been increasing production capacity for its Ultem polyetherimide but it still got caught short by increasing demand for ...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events