MACON, Ga.—Kumho Tire Georgia Inc. said it will work with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to resolve alleged safety issues at the tire maker's Macon plant.
On May 23, OSHA fined Kumho Tire Georgia and two other companies a total of $523,895 for alleged safety violations at Macon.
Kumho was cited for 22 alleged violations—12 serious, nine repeat and one other-than-serious—and fined an aggregate of $507,299. The citations cover:
- Exposing employees to fall, struck-by and burn hazards;
- Failing to follow hazardous energy control procedures which employees perform service and maintenance on machinery;
- Failing to train employees on safety control procedures; and
- Failing to provide machine guarding on various pieces of equipment throughout the Macon plant.
OSHA inspected the plant on Nov. 27. The agency said it initiated the follow-up inspection after failing to receive documents from Kumho that it abated violations found during a 2017 inspection.
After the latest inspection, OSHA placed Kumho in the Severe Violation Enforcement Program (SVEP).
According to the OSHA website, the SVEP "concentrates resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations."
In addition to the Kumho violations, OSHA fined Sae Joong Mold Inc. $9,093 for using damaged slings and for electrical hazards at Macon. It also fined J-Brothers Inc. $7,503 for failing to mount portable fire extinguishers or perform annual maintenance on fire extinguishers.
OSHA gave Kumho and the other companies until June 19 to abate the alleged violations. In a June 20 statement, Kumho said it had an informal conference June 12 with the OSHA area director, during which some citations were dismissed, some penalties reduced, and “more practical” abatement deadlines set. The company did not give specifics on this.
In a statement, the company said it disagreed with the opinions of the OSHA inspector, but would work with the agency "to come to a reasonable conclusion.
"Both Kumho Tire and OSHA have common interests such as providing a safe workplace free of recognized hazards and unsafe behaviors," the tire maker said. "The leadership team at Kumho Tire Georgia is committed to providing its team members with such a workplace."