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Violations lead to $2.5 million in fines for auto parts supplier

The death of a 20-year-old woman at an auto parts plant has led to a host of fines and citations levied by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The woman and three of her co-workers entered a robotic machine to clear a sensor fault when the assembly line stopped. The machine restarted suddenly, crushing the 20-year-old woman to death. The accident occurred on June 18, 2016.

The ensuing investigation by OSHA has led to citations for 23 "willful, serious and other than serious violations. Of these 23, 19 are egregious instance-by-instance willful violations.

The company is that of Joon LLC, which is doing business as Ajin USA of Cusseta. Two staffing agencies were also cited by OSHA for serious safety violations. The two agencies are Alliance HR Inc., which is doing business as Alliance Total Solutions LLC and Joynus Staffing Corp.

The three companies are being fined a combined $2,565,621 for the violations related to the 20-year-old woman's death.

Ajin USA was issued the following citations by OSHA:

- Failure to provide safety locks that can isolate hazardous energy.

- Failure to utilize control procedures that prevent machinery from restarting during maintenance.

- Exposing employees to amputation hazards and crushing because of improper guarding.

- Exposing employees to various hazards (stuck-in, crushing, struck-by) by letting them enter without properly shutting down machinery and securing hazards according to outlined procedures.

"This was a preventable incident – Ajin USA only had to ensure that proper safety measures were followed to de-energize the robot before the workers entered the station," OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta said in a statement. "Incidents like this one are not isolated and that is why OSHA has developed and implemented its Regional Emphasis Program on Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry."

Ajin has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program. This program allows OSHA to inspect one of the company's locations if it believes violations are still occurring.

An experienced wrongful death attorney in Nashville, Tennessee can help you navigate the legal waters following an accident that injured or killed a loved one.

Source: American Recycler, "Auto Parts Supplier, Others face $2.5 Million in Fines For Serious Violations," Jan. 01, 2017

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