The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an extensive investigation related to safety issues after a 20-year-old employee died after being crushed by a robotic machine. The federal authorities have reported 23 safety violations linked to an Alabama plant which is manufacturing auto parts for Kia Motors and Hyundai Motor Company.
Regina Allen Elsea died only two weeks before her wedding while trying to clear a sensor fault at the Ajin USA plant in Cusseta, Alabama, where she worked. According to a statement released by OSHA, the victim entered a robotic station to investigate the issue after the assembly line had suddenly stopped.
“The robot restarted abruptly, crushing the young woman inside the machine”, reads the official OSHA statement.
Furthermore, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration accuses Ajin USA of failing to provide its employees with a safe work environment by stating that the company did not have proper procedures in place to stop robotic equipment from starting up during maintenance. However, this was only one of the major safety violation attributed to the auto parts manufacturer. Apart from Ajin USA, two other employee staffing agencies have been cited with four safety violations, as well.
As a result, OSHA forces the three firms involved in the incident to pay no less than $2.5 million in penalties. In response, Ajin officials said that one of the guiding principles of the company was to provide its employees with a safe environment. Also, the company says that it fully cooperated with the ongoing investigation and will continue to do so in the future, as well.
Moreover, the company also released a statement in which the officials express their distress brought on by the untimely death of a valued teammate.
However, the investigators claim that the tragedy could have been avoided if the company would have followed proper safety precautions in the first place. The assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, David Michaels, believes that the company supplying parts for large auto manufacturers such as Kia and Hyundai oftentimes cut corners on safety in order to reduce the costs of meeting targets set by high demands. As of now, Hyundai Motor Company did not comment on the incident.
Image Source: Wikipedia