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Manufacturer pleads guilty in connection with worker death


An Alabama plastics manufacturer has agreed to pay $242,928 in restitution and also reimburse funeral expenses to the estate of a 45-year-old worker who died in August 2017 after being pulled into the moving rollers of a plastics extrusion machine at a plant in Helena, Alabama.

ABC Polymer Industries LLC pleaded guilty to a willful violation of workplace safety requirements in an agreement in federal court in Birmingham, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday.

OSHA inspectors said the company failed to provide machine-guarding measures to protect employees. It also said the company lacked safety procedures to shut down or isolate stored energy.

In a separate case involving a worker’s death, OSHA announced Monday it cited a lumber supply company after an 18-year-old worker was struck and killed by a forklift.

OSHA cited Carrollton, Texas-based Hixson Lumber Co. LLC for one willful and four serious violations after inspectors said the business allegedly failed to properly train the teenage worker before his July 23, 2022, death at a job site in Rison, Arkansas.

The teen had been searching for the keys to the forklift after dropping them, and the machine rolled and fatally struck him, according to OSHA.

OSHA said the forklift’s original parking brake had been replaced with a makeshift one that failed to secure the vehicle at the time of the incident.

OSHA proposed $218,759 in penalties against the company, which has 15 days to contest the citations.