Worker killed in Tag manufacturing plant accident in Chattanooga

Worker killed in Tag manufacturing plant accident in Chattanooga

May 9th, 2012 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

FATAL OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES

In Chattanooga Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Hamilton, Marion, Sequatchie, Walker, Dade and Catoosa counties

• 2010 - 7

• 2009 - 9

• 2008 - 12

• 2007 - 10

• 2006 - 8

• 2005 - 7

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


TOSHA FATALITY INVESTIGATIONS

In Chattanooga

• 2012 - 1

• 2011 - 2

• 2010 - 1

• 2009 - 0

• 2008 - 4

Source: Tennessee Department of Labor

Tennessee labor officials are investigating a manufacturing accident that killed a 54-year-old worker Monday night.

Larry Chubbs was working an evening shift at Tag Manufacturing when he became caught in a piece of heavy machinery used to prepare steel and was killed, according to Chattanooga police reports and initial information released by the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Chubbs was pronounced dead at the scene, and police investigators found no signs of foul play, police spokesman Officer Nathan Hartwig said.

"The Tag family is stunned by the loss of Larry Chubbs last night," said Gary Wilt, president of Tag Manufacturing. "The loss is compounded by the lack of understanding how this tragedy could ever occur. Larry was a great friend and worker, and the Tag family joins his family in mourning his loss."

Tag mainly manufactures steel parts for construction equipment -- like large front-end loader buckets, excavator rakes and the forks used for forklifts, according to a 2011 brochure.

TOSHA sent its own inspector to the plant Tuesday morning to start an investigation into the incident, said Jennifer Farrar, the agency's information officer.

TOSHA investigations typically take six to eight weeks. Inspectors have up to six months to complete a report on the circumstances and factors contributing to the fatality, Farrar said.

Fabricated metal manufacturing accounted for 47 deaths nationwide in 2010, making up 1 percent of all workplace fatalities that year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics national census of fatal occupational injuries.

That year, 137 Tennessee workers and 82 Georgia employees were killed while working, the census shows.

Tag Manufacturing -- which has been in business since 2005 -- was the first plant to be built at Chattanooga's Enterprise South industrial park.

As of 2009, the company had employed 90 people at its sprawling 200,000-square-foot facility, newspaper archives show.

An investigation was launched into a safety complaint at Tag Manufacturing in 2007, according to a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration database.

That case was closed in 2008 and the company was not fined, according to the database.

Staff writer Pam Sohn contributed to this story.