Workplace safety Violations – Cardinal Aluminum Co. Under Close Scrutiny

The workplace safety measures taken by Cardinal Aluminum Company has come under close scrutiny after one of its workers’s died after being hit by a piece of machinery. The worker sustained “blunt-force trauma to the head” and was pronounced dead at the accident scene itself.

This has not been the first time when Cardinal Aluminum Co.’s safety provisions at work have been questioned. Back in 2012, the company was fined heavily as one its worker’s sustained serious injuries at the company’s Preston Highway production facility.

In the 2012 incident, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet violation notice obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act specified that the accident was a result of a fork lift running into an eight foot “A-frame rack,” that caused a twenty-seven foot steel beam to tip the rack over onto the back of the employee who was standing nearby. The notice thus saw workplace safety officials blaming the company for failure to provide separate, protective and marked traffic ways for pedestrian and fork truck traffic on the production floor.

The 2012 inspections marked the accident as one of the nine violations regulators, of which eight were “serious” enough to cause potential injuries. The violations ranged from failing to inspect coating equipment, employees not wearing protective eyewear, not providing an appropriate meter to measure flammable gases and vapors or toxic gases and vapors, inadequate training, failing to provide employees with a locker or storage space to store their street clothes in order to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals, failing to evaluate a designated rescue service’s ability to respond to an emergency or hazard in a timely, effective manner.

The violations were ultimately settled for an amount of $17,875 in 2013, as opposed to a fine of $34,550 issued by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. This settlement ensured correction of the safety issues.

Chip Edwards, CEO, Cardinal Aluminum, rejected any connection of the accident to the 2012 violations. The violations, although “serious” were not considered “willful” or “repeat”.

Just three days before the 2012 accident, there had been another case wherein an overhead crane caused some loose aluminum strips to fall. Ignoring the severity of the cases, the Kentucky regulators faulted Cardinal Aluminum merely for failing to report the employee’s hospitalization within three days, as required by law.

Daniel Lowry, spokesman for the Kentucky Labor Cabinet stated that all workplace injuries are not the fault of employers, and sometimes can just be freak accidents. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) database indicated that Cardinal Aluminum has had no violations since 2012, and that regulators have to be able to show how an employer’s failure to follow rules can lead to the incident before a violation can be issued.

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