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‘Willful’ Citation in PPG Worker’s Death

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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Federal authorities are accusing PPG Industries of willful and serious safety lapses in the death of a worker last summer at its facility in Barberton, OH.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed fines totaling $69,000 in the death of Wendy Breiding, 51, of Barberton, who became entangled in an unprotected spindle winder on a paper rolling machine at the plant about 8:30 p.m. July 15, 2013.

She was pronounced dead 25 minutes later, The Barberton Herald reported on its Facebook page.

Wendy Breiding
Family via legacy.com

Friends remembered PPG's Wendy Breiding, 51, as a "wonderful person."

Breiding, a three-year employee of PPG, was married and had two sons. Friends and relatives on Facebook recalled her as a "wonderful person" and "very nice and quiet person."

Specialty Chemicals Site

PPG Barberton Specialty Chemicals Plant produces optical casting resins, design silicas used in paints and other products, and printable materials for a wide variety of applications.

The Barberton plant began operation in 1900 as the Pittsburgh-based company's first chemicals site, producing soda ash for glassmaking operations. The facility employs about 160 people, and the company has about 39,000 employees worldwide.

PPG spokesman Mark Silvey said Tuesday (Jan. 28) that the company was "aware of the citations issued by OSHA."

PPG Barberton OH Plant
PPG

PPG Industries' specialty chemicals plant in Barberton, OH, opened in 1900 and underwent a $9 million expansion in November.

He added: "We continue to cooperate fully with OSHA and local authorities on this matter. PPG plans to review the citations thoroughly, but we have no additional information to provide at this time."

PPG announced in November that it had invested more than $9 million to expand the Barberton facility, to beging making organic light-emitting diode (OLED) products.

OSHA Citations

OSHA issued one willful citation alleging failure to ensure that machine guarding was in place to protect the operator and nearby employees. A willful violation, OSHA's highest level of infraction, is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for, or plain indifference to, employee safety and health.

The agency also issued two serious citations alleging failure to:

  • Use lockout/tagout procedures and ensure equipment was deenergized before servicing/maintenance of equipment; and
  • Periodically inspect authorized employees on lockout/tagout procedures.
PPG Cr39
PPG

The Barberton facility makes optical casting resins, design silicas and, since November, OLED products.

A serious violation reflects "substantial probability" or death or serious injury from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

PPG in Ohio

A check of OSHA records Tuesday showed no other violations at the Barberton plant in the past 10 years.

At PPG's plant in Crestline, OH, however, an employee was trapped and killed by a 2,700-pound piece of equipment in 2007. In addition, the company's plant in Circleville, OH, has been cited several times in the last five years.

PPG's paint and coatings plant in Delaware, OH, was cited for seven serious and one other-than-serious citation two weeks after the fatality in Barberton. Four of the seven serious citations have been tentatively deleted, but the proposed fine remains at $19,100.

The Delaware, OH, plant was also cited for 11 serious and one other-than-serious violations in May 2013, with proposed fines totaling $30,500. Three of the less-serious violations have been tentatively deleted and the fine tentatively reduced to $22,500.

'Unacceptable'

"It's unacceptable that PPG Industries failed to ensure adequate machine guards were in use and that the equipment was properly deenergized," Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland, said of the new case.

"Companies must implement safeguards, create a culture of safety and ensure OSHA regulations are followed to ensure that no employee is injured or killed on the job."

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Coatings manufacturers; Fatalities; OSHA

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