ABC Polymer Industries yesterday pleaded guilty to a willful OSHA violation more than five years after the death of an employee.
In August 2017, a 45-year-old worker at a plant in Helena, Alabama, died after she was pulled into a cluster of unguarded moving rollers.
At the factory, ABC operated several plastic extrusion lines that molded raw materials into flat plastic sheets.
The equipment pulled the sheets through a series of rollers arranged in clusters before cutting them into plastic threads or tapes.
The machine had an OSHA-required cage that could be pulled down over one of the exposed sides of the rollers.
However, ABC knew that employees routinely raised machine guards to cut tangled plastic off the rollers.
The company even trained employees to cut plastic off the rollers while the rollers were in operation.
ABC pleaded guilty to a class B misdemeanor, the only federal criminal charge covering workplace safety violations, and will be sentenced on Jan. 24, 2022.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of a $500,000 fine, or twice the financial gain to the defendant or twice the financial loss to another, whichever is greater, and restitution to the victim.