Custom injection molder Alladin Plastics Inc. has been fined $12,000 by the state following an investigation into the death of an employee at the firm's plant in Surgoinsville, Tenn.
Lonnie Mowl, 61, was killed April 7 while trying to help a co-worker clean a mold under a 1,500-ton press that was making plastic chairs. He died after the back and front molds of the machine closed on him, according to the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Surgoinsville-based Alladin has until Sept. 9 to appeal the fine, which was announced Aug. 27. The company will not appeal, Executive Vice President Bob Hickman said in an Aug. 31 telephone interview.
The TOSHA report on the incident found six serious violations at the plant. Employees interviewed by the agency said they had seen workers crawl underneath gates or doors on molding machines on several occasions to perform cleaning and repairs.
TOSHA has recommended that Alladin make several changes:
* Include cleaning or dislodging stuck products from front and back molds in the firm's established written lockout/tagout procedures for injection molding machines.
* Conduct training in lockout/ tagout procedures for all affected employees.
* Install standard railings on a stairway attached to the machine involved in the fatal accident.
* Install a device to prevent entry from underneath the gate or door while the machine is in operation.
Hickman told TOSHA investigators he was unaware of employees crawling underneath machines. He said he also was not aware of them not following procedures that had been outlined orally when they needed to clean or dislodge stuck chairs or other products being manufactured.
In the Aug. 31 interview, Hickman said Alladin is finding a way to block access to the underside of the machine involved in Mowl's death. Because of the seasonal production schedule, it won't be used again until October or November, he said.
Hickman estimated that Alladin will spend $15,000 making safety improvements to its machinery. We're doing everything we can to make sure something like this won't happen again, he said.
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