Shaw Industries failed to provide adequate machine protection for one of its operators who died last October when he was caught between a moving part of a machine and a stationary steel I-beam at the company's plant No. 23 in Dalton, according to a Department of Labor review of the incident released to the Times Free Press.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) rated the safety violation as "serious" and fined Shaw Industries $12,934 after the Oct. 31 accident last year claimed the life of a 51-year-old plant operator, Jesus Pimentel.
Pimentel, who had worked for Shaw Industries since 2007, apparently was trying to get something out of the machine when he was crushed and ultimately killed. Officials said he had a wife and daughter.
Labor department regulators concluded that Shaw "exposed employees to fall hazards in that, employees were reaching over an unprotected edge of a catwalk, approximately 10 feet above the production floor while attempting to thread a J-box on a coater machine."
Shaw paid the penalty and said it has worked to address the fall and exposure danger around its equipment.
"Shaw's highest priority is the health and safety of our associates," said Bill Whitmire, director of corporate risk management. "Our approach is comprehensive and rigorous. A robust safety training program is central to our overall approach to safety management, and we invest significant resources to ensure our associates have the necessary training to perform their jobs safely."
Shaw Industries is America's biggest carpet manufacturer and is owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.
Contact Dave Flessner@timesfreepress.com