Thu., 1:08pm: North Jackson plant `could have prevented’ Niles worker’s death

NORTH JACKSON — A North Jackson aluminum plant has been cited with eight safety violations following the death of a Niles worker who was crushed by a hot metal rack stacked with heavy aluminum, a federal safety agency said Thursday.

Extrudex Aluminum acted with knowing disregard or plain indifference to hazards at the companys plant, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a news release.

Company General Manager Brian Carter did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday.

OSHA’s findings come more than a year after 21-year-old John Tomlin Jr., of Niles, was killed when he was pinned by a rack with heavy, hot aluminum parts, which also fell on him. Another 19-year-old worker was seriously burned but survived.

“Extrudex Aluminum could have prevented this tragic loss by protecting workers from hazards unique to its operation,” Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland, said in the release. “Workers should not be asked to take such risks, and OSHA will not tolerate such disregard for worker safety.”

Extrudex, based in Canada with 152 employees at its North Jackson plant, is now in OSHA’s severe violator program, will undergo targeted follow-up inspections and will be subject to fines of up to $175,000.

The company has until May 14 to comply, contest OSHA’s findings before a review commission or request an informal conference with Eberts.