Fuyao faces $724K OSHA penalty for ‘multiple hazards’

OSHA cites ‘repeated’ failure to correct ‘violations’

Fuyao Glass America has been fined $724,380 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for “exposing employees to multiple safety and health hazards,”the Department of Labor said Monday.

The amount is the largest fine OSHA has proposed against Fuyao and ranks third on a list of initial penalties against Ohio employers levied since 2015, a Dayton Daily News examination of federal records show.

OSHA said it cited Fuyao for “nine repeated and 13 serious violations, including exposing employees to electrical safety violations; and failing to evaluate the workplace to determine permit-required confined spaces; train employees on lockout/tag out and entering confined spaces; install machine guarding; provide hearing protection; provide personal protective equipment, and require the use of fall protection.”

OSHA said it has inspected the Fuyao plant off West Stroop Road 12 times in the past four years.

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In a release, Bill Donovan, OSHA acting regional administrator in Chicago, said: “This company’s repeated failure to implement and enforce safety and health programs at the workplace is unacceptable. Employers must continually evaluate their facilities for hazards, and train employees and managers to use proper safety controls and equipment to keep their worksites safe and healthful.”

According to an OHSA database, an inspection of Fuyao’s plant in Moraine was completed in early February this year in a case listed as “open.”

Rhonda Burke, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Labor, said OSHA is approaching the "six-month mark" in that case. According to the OSHA Act of 1970, the agency operates under a six-month statute of limitations for citations.

A Fuyao representative would not comment on the fine and asked that questions be emailed to the company.

OHSA says it imposes penalties of $132,598 for every “willful” or “repeated” violation. Employers face a penalty of $13,260 for every “serious” violation and $13,260 per day beyond a set abatement date for every failure to abate or correct a violation.

In the past five years, Fuyao Global, a Chinese auto glass producer, has retrofitted and built out a former General Motors plant in Moraine, transforming it into what the company says is the world’s largest automotive glass factory, producing 4.5 million sets of vehicle glass a year and employing 2,300 workers.

Fuyao has faced OSHA penalties in the past.

In November 2016, OSHA proposed $226,937 in penalties against Fuyao, saying it found “multiple machine safety violations which expose workers to amputation and other serious injuries, as well as a lack of personal protective equipment, electrical hazards, failing to train workers about hazardous chemicals in use and unmarked exits.”

In total, OSHA in 2016 said it cited Fuyao for 23 serious safety violations and one other-than-serious violation.

Two years later, OSHA proposed a $7,000 fine in the March 2018 death of a worker in Moraine. At that time, OSHA faulted Fuyao for not ensuring that employees cutting banding on heavy pallets of glass sheets used angle gages to prevent the glass from “falling forward and striking the employees.”

A locally made documentary about Fuyao — titled “American Factory,” created by Yellow Springs filmmakers Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert and their colleagues — will be shown at the Victoria Theatre Aug. 19 in a ticketed event, Netflix said last week.

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