JACKSON, Ga.-A tire recycler should pay nearly $220,000 in fines for safety violations connected with the death of one of its workers in May, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed.
The Nov. 15 fine proposal was against the former Tires Into Recycled Energy & Supplies Inc. plant in Jackson. Jeffrey Ceveris, 39, died in a fire at the plant May 17 when dust from the manufacturing process ignited.
In a news release announcing the fine, OSHA said that part of the plant´s labor force at that time included employees hired through the Georgia Department of Corrections´ probationers´ diversion program.
"This employer demonstrated total disregard for employees´ safety by using employees who lacked the proper training for their jobs," Gei Thae Breezley, director of OSHA´s Atlanta East Area Office, said in the release.
The fine recommendation includes $196,000 for what the agency called four willful violations.
These included failure to reduce combustible dust in the facility, failure to develop a written emergency evacuation plan, failure to train employees in firefighting procedures and failure to develop a lockout/tagout program.
Another $23,800 of fines were for such violations as a lack of fall protection on equipment, a lack of stair handrails, no formal training for forklift operations and inadequate recordkeeping.
At the time of the accident, TIRES Inc. was subletting the building along with a number of other tenants from GreenMan Technologies Inc., the Savage, Minn.-headquartered tire recycler that ceased its Georgia operations in 2006.
GreenMan had nothing to do with the fire that killed Ceveris.
However, a March 2003 blaze in the waste wire processing section of the Jackson plant caused GreenMan to close those operations for more than a year and a half.
No one was hurt in the 2003 fire.
OSHA said TIRES had 15 days from the fine proposal to contest the citations and penalties.
David Forrester, founder and former CEO of TIRES, sold certain assets of the business to Liberty Tire Recycling L.L.C. and is now Liberty Tire´s vice president of crumb operations.
TIRES remains a registered corporation, although it has no operational locations, according to Forrester.
Forrester and other former TIRES executives expect to meet with OSHA officials within the next couple of weeks to resolve the issue, he added.
Liberty Tire had no part or responsibility in the fire, he said.