WASHINGTON—Landis Plastics Inc. will pay a $425,000 fine and beef up worker safety and health conditions at its New York and Illinois plants under a settlement June 18 with federal regulators.
The agreement comes 18 months after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused the injection molder of ``grossly'' and deliberately underreporting worker injury and illnesses and violating machine-guarding and ergonomic practices in 1995 and 1996. OSHA officials said at the time Landis had an injury rate seven times the plastics industry average.
The company said in a statement it is pleased with the settlement, and that it applies to all the company's facilities, not just the Solvay, N.Y., plant that was the focus of much OSHA and public attention.
``I can tell you I am very proud of the progress we have made in the last year and a half,'' President Greg Landis said. ``It is my hope that the settlement of this case will mark the beginning of a cooperative relationship between our company and OSHA.''
A spokesman declined to comment beyond the statement.
Since OSHA filed the complaints, Chicago Ridge, Ill.-based Landis has hired a corporate safety director, agreed to set up a program that follows OSHA's voluntary guidelines, corrected the record-keeping problems, provided training for machine operators in lockout and tagout and implemented an ergonomics program, OSHA said.
``This agreement avoids the burden and cost of prolonged litigation and also furthers the efforts of both Landis and OSHA to provide safe workplaces,'' said Charles Jeffress, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
The OSHA agreement also said the company should reach a similar pact with Indiana safety officials, who regulate Landis plants in Richmond and Monticello, Ind.
OSHA had proposed $720,000 in fines after a six-month investigation at Solvay, which included reports of four separate finger amputations. The plant was the focus of a union organizing drive, a legislative fact-finding hearing and a story in the New York Times.
Landis had $126 million in sales in 1997. It also has plants in Illinois in Alsip and Chicago Ridge. The company employs about 1,200.