Goodyear Tire Slapped With $1.2 Million Safety Fine

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By Bruce Rolfsen

Oct. 13 — Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. faces proposed fines of about $1.2 million in the wake of investigations prompted by two deaths and a burn injury, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry announced Oct. 13.

Conditions at the factory in Danville, Va., came under close scrutiny following the deaths of four workers from Aug. 31, 2015, through Aug. 12. The state continues to investigate the most recent death and fines were previously proposed for the first fatality.

“While the citations and penalties issued in the inspections to date indicate that very serious problems appear to have existed for an extended period of time at the plant, the Department intends to work closely with Goodyear, the United Steelworkers and site employees and managers to enhance the site’s safety and health management systems and workplace culture,” state Labor Commissioner C. Ray Davenport said in a statement.

Bloomberg BNA phone call requests on Oct. 13 for comments from Goodyear in Danville and at its headquarters were not returned.

Many of the alleged violations involve improperly protecting workers from operating machinery and not correctly disconnecting machinery while maintenance work was ongoing, the department said.

Virginia conducted the inspections and levied the fines because the state has oversight of workplace safety and health, not the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The new allegations include six willful, 118 serious and three other-than-serious violations.

The willful violations include:

  •  failing to a cover floor opening, measuring about 13 inches by 20 inches, that resulted in a fatality when a worker fell into the nearly 7-foot-deep pit containing boiling oil and water;
  •  not maintaining clean and, so far as possible, dry conditions in workrooms, hazards leading to worker slips and falls;
  •  not developing, documenting and using lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machinery activation while blades were changed and rubber was cleared from near a conveyor; and
  •  using “ineffective and faulty” lockout/tagout procedures to deactivate machines prior to conducting maintenance work.
The Danville plant manufactures tires, employing about 2,200 workers.

Goodyear has 15 days after receiving the citations to decide if it will contest the citations, potentially through state court.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at

For More Information

The Goodyear citations are available at

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