ITML fined for unsafe work conditions BRANTFORD, ONTARIO — ITML Inc. was fined C$75,000 (US$50,600) for unsafe work conditions that killed an employee.
It was the second safety-related fine for the horticultural container molder in about two years. Brantford-based ITML was fined C$70,000 (US$47,300) in July 1998 after a 1996 incident in which a worker injured his arm when he was removing flower pots jammed in a blow molding machine.
In the latest incident, which occurred Aug. 26, 1998, 29-year-old Kryzstof Korchowiec died when testing a section of compressed air piping on a newly installed compressed air system, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour. An improperly anchored portion of the piping, attached by a flexible rubber hose and clamp to an air compression system, detached and hit Korchowiec on the head.
ITML was fined under the Boilers and Pressure Vessels Act for failing to ensure that the pressure plant was operating safely by testing the compressed air system before ensuring that components that could become loose were anchored and secure.
ITML Vice President and part owner Kleis Hensen declined comment on the fine. The fine was levied by Justice Ken Lenz on June 8 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Brantford.
INdustry leader Ralph Brotz dies at 87
SHEBOYGAN, WIS. — Ralph T. Brotz often said the business world should be built on human respect and community service. The chairman of Plastics Engineering Co. died April 22 in at age 87 from complications of a respiratory illness and heart disease.
Brotz was born and resided in Kohler, Wis. He and four brothers formed the company in 1934, and family members continue to own and operate the Sheboygan developer and refiner of thermoset resins and molding compounds.
Brotz had been a director of the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., Sheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce, Security First National Bank and Kohler Family Foundation.
Others noted his contributions.
In 1989, the Wisconsin Hospital Association presented its first award of merit to Brotz, mainly for his broad vision of health care and his efforts to assure quality care at a reasonable cost in his community. In 1990, the Sheboygan Rotary Club presented him with a good citizen award.
He headed a private family foundation that was formed in 1953 and donates more than $1 million per year to needy groups.
Brotz was a general partner in the business for 16 years. When the business, known as Plenco, was incorporated in 1950, he became vice president and, from 1959-94, served as president. When he took charge, Plenco was among the nation's largest producers of synthetic phenolic compounds, and the growth has continued.
Revamped Westra hits expansion trail
POINTE CLAIRE, QUEBEC — Westra has embarked on an expansion just seven months after the blow molder reorganized.
The firm, based in Pointe Claire, near Montreal, is building a 65,000-square-foot addition to its 40,000-square-foot plant. The project will cost more than C$3.3 million (US$2.2 million) and comes on top of C$1 million (US$675,000) the firm already has spent on equipment and plant upgrades.
Eric Berman, Westra president and chief financial officer, said the company will move warehousing from a leased, 60,000-square-foot building into the addition. The move will reduce handling and improve delivery, he said in a telephone interview.
Berman said customers have given Westra extra business now that its financial and management structures are more stable. The company has boosted employment 40 percent, to 175, since it restructured in October. Annual blow molding sales should hit US$10 million this year, more than 30 percent higher than last year, he predicted.
Westra mainly extrusion blow molds high density polyethylene and PVC for cosmetic, pharmaceutical and health markets. It runs 35 blow molding machines.
Westra was plagued with debt for several years before a group of investors stepped in to acquire the debt. After the restructuring, the firm's new legal name became Westra Division of 3651517 Canada Inc. It formerly was called Westra Industries Inc.
Loan allows Unipar to acquire building
REEDSVILLE, PA. — Unipar Inc. was awarded a loan to acquire and renovate a building in Reedsville.
The Pennsylvania Department of Commerce and Economic Development will lend the molder $213,900 to buy a 49,500-square-foot building. The loan should ensure Unipar retains 31 jobs and creates 12 new ones. The total purchase and renovation cost is estimated at $439,000.
Unipar molds fuel tanks, dock floats, pumps and other plastic products. Mifflin County Industrial Development Corp. is the local sponsor for the loan, according to an announcement from the state agency. Unipar officials declined to comment on the project.