OSHA yesterday cited auto parts manufacturer Hematite after workers battled 13 fires in two years.
The Ohio-based company faces 10 federal safety violations for exposing workers to fires and various training failures.
OSHA investigators discovered that the polyethylene material Hematite heats to create molten plastic for automotive parts catches fire in the ovens.
The material is easily ignited, even by static, and difficult to extinguish.
From June 2020 to June 2022, the company experienced 13 facility fires that employees battled with portable fire extinguishers.
According to OSHA, company management preferred workers fight fires with extinguishers rather than allowing the sprinklers to turn on, which lessened repair costs and production downtime.
The company faces $271,403 in fines for the one willful and nine serious safety violations.
The Hematite plant makes acoustics, air flow and water deflection components for Tier 1 automotive companies, including Ford, Chrysler and Toyota.
Parent company Woodbridge must immediately review emergency action plans and improve training and safety measures at the plant.
Woodbridge employs more than 7,500 workers in more than 50 locations across 10 countries.
The company’s corporate headquarters is based in Mississauga, Ontario, and its automotive headquarters is in Troy, Michigan,