Hwashin will contest OSHA#039;s findings

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2006

OSHA has issued its report on a pair of accidents at Hwashin America Corporation, one that involved the death of a Georgiana man earlier this year.

Jeff Funke, assistant area director of the Mobile office, said Hwashin had been delivered the results of OSHA's investigation on Friday.

Funke said while he could not elaborate on the results of the investigation, he did say Hwashin was issued citations based on two separate accidents that occurred within a one-week period at the plant.

The first accident resulted in the death of Michael G. Mitchell, 29.

&#8220The citations are proposed at this point,” said Funke. &#8220Hwashin now has 15 working days to respond. They can accept our findings or we can meet with them and reach a settlement. They do have the right to formally contest our findings and that could ultimately lead to litigation where it would be ruled on by an administrative law judge. I can't tell you how these cases will turn out.”

Rhonda Simmons, spokesperson for Hwashin confirmed the company had received OSHA's findings on Friday.

&#8220We are reviewing their report and the only thing I can say right not is that we will be abating some of the items listed,” she said.

Mitchell was killed on-site after becoming pinned between one of the automotive supplier's giant steel rollers. One week later, Brandon Ball, 20, of Greenville, was struck on the head by a robotic welding arm and fell into a coma. He was transported to Baptist South Hospital in Montgomery and has since recovered.

&#8220As I understand he's (Ball) doing well,” said Funke.

Friday's report to Hwashin also includes OSHA's findings on a safety complaint filed prior to the accidents, said Funke.

Funke also said OSHA has almost completed its investigation into another industrial accident at Hysco America Co. in May. Sylvester Dixon, 33, became trapped between a pair of heavy rollers. The bones in Dixon's forearm were crushed and the muscles suffered extensive damage.