Recent OSHA citations for serious health and safety violations at Fuyao Glass in Moraine, Ohio were not sufficient for workers at the company, who have filed a complaint asking for a more thorough investigation into conditions at the plant.
The workers allege that fire hazards, electrocution risks, and laceration injuries persist at Fuyao -- a major supplier of glass products to Hyundai, Kia, GM, and Chrysler.
Lost fingertips, crushed toes
“People here have lost their fingertips because we don’t have protective gloves, or gotten their toes crushed because machines don’t have the necessary guards,” said Cynthia Harper, 55, a production worker at the Fuyao plant. “The company should be doing everything it can to make the plant safe, but it has only ignored us. We can’t stay quiet any longer, so we are calling on the federal government to hold the company accountable.”
The workers’ complaint details:
- Fire Hazards: The plant is equipped with burning hot furnaces and workers regularly handle highly flammable materials, yet few workers have ever seen an evacuation plan in the event of a fire, and the plant has never conducted an evacuation drill. Exit signs throughout the plant are incorrect and lead to dead ends with no way out.
- Electrocution Risks: Workers must wade through standing water that regularly accumulates on the plant floor near electrical wires and pedal switches. Power lines are also found lying across the ground in the way of moving equipment, including cranes that could hit the lines and spark an electrical fire.
- Laceration Injuries: Workers routinely suffer serious cuts, often requiring stitches, from sharp knives used to trim excess plastic from windows after lamination. The plant’s management has refused to provide cut-resistant gloves after repeated requests from workers, and has failed to provide kits to clean up blood spills after cuts do occur. In the past month alone at least six workers have suffered serious cuts.
- Other Hazards: Workers lack proper respiratory gear to protect them from exposure to silica that is pumped into the air in certain parts of the plant; conveyer belts and other equipment throughout the plant lack guards to protect workers from injury; and as the plant adds more production lines, aisles are becoming congested and are routinely blocked by forklifts and other transport vehicles.
The Fuyao plant, which opened in 2014 at the site of a former GM facility, has received an estimated $14 million in subsidies from the state of Ohio.
“Many people assumed the Fuyao plant would be a boon to the community when it opened, but those of us who report to work here every day feel like we’re holding our lives in our hands because the company refuses to make the plant safe,” said Nicholas Tannenbaum, a production worker at Fuyao Glass.”
Note: Fuyao Glass was contacted for a statement and did not respond.