Tennessee OSHA Completes Carlex Plant Inspection After Workplace Accident

Fotolia_43231762_Subscription_Monthly_MThe death of Catherine White, 51, of Lebanon, Tenn., in a workplace accident at the Nashville, Tenn., Carlex Glass America windshield plant triggered an inspection by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA). The inspection resulted in the allegation of one citation, which includes two “serious” violations, and a monetary penalty of $9,000, according to the TOSHA report. Carlex contested one of the violations. The incident occurred on January 22, 2016.

White was cleaning the printer head on the No. 1 windshield production line at the plant when the machine started up and caught her head and neck, according to the report. She had told management that the print head at the knob assembly station was not printing properly.

“Management left the area to instruct others to stop the flow of product,” according to the report. “After management left the area, the victim made her way to the part of the machine that housed the print head. For unknown reasons, she leaned into the machine and was pinned when the machine cycled.”

White was employed as the team lead for Carlex. She was a nearly 20-year company veteran.

On the day of the incident, White was helping out because staffing levels were low due to inclement weather. She had been relieving employees so they could take breaks, according to the report.

“It was determined the machine was not locked out prior to the victim entering the area, which allowed the machine to actuate” according to the report.

TOSHA’s report alleged two violations. The first was because the company did not ensure lockout/tagout procedures were utilized at the windshield 1 line—Star Unload Rotator/Pack Cell. The second was because the employer did not provide adequate guarding to protect employees from leaning or reaching into the windshield 1 line—Star Unload Rotator Cell, which had energized moving parts.

Each violation is a $4,500 monetary penalty.

“On March 28, 2016, the Nashville TOSHA office received an emailed letter indicating that Carlex intends to contest the citations and penalties of $9,000 issued as a result of the inspection,” according to the report.

An informal conference was held with Carlex and TOSHA officials on March 28, 2016.

“The employer representatives stated that they agreed and accepted citation 1, item 2,” according to the report. “However, they did not agree with citation 1, item 1 and felt that it should be deleted. They felt that we did not have enough information to support the citation. The specifics of the citation were discussed. The TOSHA representatives discussed the request with the area safety manager. It was determined that we should not delete the citation and that everything would remain as is. The employer representatives were reminded of their final order date and the contestment process.”

The violation Carlex is contesting is that the employer “did not ensure that lockout/tagout procedures were utilized on at windshield 1 production line, when an employee was exposed to hazardous moving parts, including but not limited to, an automatically actuated carriage,” according to the report.

The Tennessee Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development has asked the Occupational Safety Health and Review Commission to affirm the citation and penalty.

At press time, the Commission had not issued a decision.

“Safety is the first core value at Carlex,” says Debbie Radish-Respess, vice president of human resources at Carlex. “We are committed to providing a work environment that promotes health and safety at the highest level for all of our employees, visitors and contractors. We’re working closely with TOSHA and outside experts throughout this process. We are committed to continually improving our safety programs.”

The plant involved fabricates both OEM and aftermarket windshields.

To read a copy of the TOSHA report, click here.

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6 Responses to Tennessee OSHA Completes Carlex Plant Inspection After Workplace Accident

  1. Sam Tezel says:

    It seems that there was a lack of reinforcement of procedures at the carlex auto glass plant. White worked there 20 years and was the lead, this never should have happened.

  2. Sean Hollett says:

    We lose our fear when we work close to danger regularly……. Fear can keep us safe, if we pay attention to it.
    It is awful to lose someone, we must learn from this unfortunate event.

  3. John Begluitti says:

    I used to work at the Vonore, TN site and the safety program there was terrible. I’m surprised more serious injuries/deaths haven’t occurred.

    • Darnel says:

      John I used to work with you on the windshield line, and you were terrible. You are the main reason I quite carlex in 2014, and I’m better for it now.

    • Jason Higgs says:

      I still work at the Vonore site, and I also think safety is terrible. The Japanese that own this company don’t take safety seriously.

  4. Ross Swart says:

    I work for Carlex, and I don’t think there is a safety issue… but probably because I’m in a management position and I wouldn’t be the one to get injured anyways.

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