OSHA nears end of probe into Fuyao death

Fuyao Glass America’s Moraine plant offices. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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Fuyao Glass America’s Moraine plant offices. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) investigators are nearing the end of their investigation into the March 20 death of a Fuyao Glass America worker, the head of OSHA’s Cincinnati-area office said Friday.

A final report may be about three weeks away, said Ken Montgomery, executive director of OSHA’s Cincinnati regional office.

“We have reviewed all their processes; we have done all our interviews,” Montgomery said. “And we are in the process of closing out the file now.”

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He added: “The compliance officer has proposed some issues to me that we are going to probably address.”

He said he could not disclose any “issues” identified at the plant until OSHA discusses them with Fuyao, a producer of OEM and after-market auto glass.

He also declined to say definitively whether citations would be proposed against Fuyao.

Ricky Patterson, 57, was killed while working at Fuyao last month, dying of blunt force trauma to the head while operating a forklift at the West Stroop Road plant, authorities said.

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The Dayton man was found during an early morning shift “wedged in between” an industrial machine and a pallet of glass, which had a tag indicating it weighed 2,097 pounds, a police report said.

No one else was reported injured in the accident.

In the process at issue, glass is placed on a “turntable” that is supposed to hold the glass, Montgomery said. The turntable turns, and a robotic arm then is supposed to lift the glass and set it on a conveyor.

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If a citation is issued against Fuyao, that will become public knowledge, Montgomery said.

The final report depends on a final piece of information from the company, he added, but he did not say what that was or when it was expected.

But he agreed that OSHA is nearing the end of its investigation.

OSHA and Fuyao have had dealings in the past. In late 2016, the company faced nearly $227,000 in OSHA penalties following six complaint inspections at what is said to be the world’s largest auto glass production facility.

Workers began complaining of dangerous conditions at the plant not long after work there began in earnest in October 2015, OSHA said, leading to eight separate federal inspections and $226,937 in proposed penalties.

Fuyao has about 2,000 workers in Moraine. The March 20 fatality was the first death reported there.

A message was left for Fuyao representatives.

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