BRYAN, Ohio (June 12, 2009) — Titan Tire Corp. is facing $140,000 in proposed fines for alleged safety violations at its Bryan off-the-road tire plant from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These fines are in addition to the $24,500 the agency proposed a few days ago.
However, Titan CEO Maurice Taylor Jr. said the fines were levied unfairly and based on an OSHA inspector's personal vendetta against the company. “I'll give you odds we win this thing hands down,” Taylor said.
According to OSHA, the new fines were levied after agency inspections in the wake of a Nov. 23, 2008, steam explosion at the plant. That explosion sent a 5,000-pound tire curing unit crashing through the facility's ceiling and onto its roof, said Jule Hovi, OSHA area director in Toledo.
The inspection revealed that four curing units in the plant had never been adequately tested and had welds that weren't strong enough to withstand the 6.4 million pounds of pressure the units generated, the agency said. Also, inspectors found the units' clamping connection alterations weren't engineered to properly resist the force of pressure along the load path. The agency fined the Bryan plant $70,000 for each of these infractions.
A few days before, OSHA proposed $24,500 in fines against the Bryan plant for four serious infractions including an unguarded temporary floor opening, unguarded machinery and two infractions of the General Duty Clause.
No hearings or meetings between OSHA and Titan have been scheduled.