Goodyear fined $1.75 million for employee deaths

Local News

Goodyear will pay $1.75 million in penalties after a settlement between the company and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. 

This is a result of four deaths at the Danville plant over a one-year period.  

Here is the full press release:  

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Virginia Occupational Safety  and  Health  (VOSH)  program announced today (Friday) a joint comprehensive settlement agreement with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Goodyear) and the United Steelworkers (USW) with respect to the Department’s investigations of four fatal accidents that occurred at Goodyear’s Danville Plant over a one-year period.

The agreement provides for a total of $1.75 million in penalties, $1 million of which will be paid by Goodyear to the Commonwealth.  The agreement lays out an orderly process for the elimination of the numerous workplace hazards identified during the eleven VOSH inspections conducted over the last eighteen months. 

The  agreement also includes a substantial commitment from all parties to assist the Goodyear Danville Plant towards achieving its goal of becoming a national leader in occupational safety and health by successfully completing the application process for membership in the Virginia Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). Goodyear will be able to retain up to $750,000 in penalties for use at the Danville Plant to abate hazards identified during the VOSH inspections and to assist the Danville Plant in its efforts to meet the challenging requirements of the Virginia VPP to make its safety and health management systems among the best in the United States.

“We were all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life at the Goodyear Danville Plant and for the families and  co-workers involved. I can think of no better tribute to those who lost their lives and those who continue to work at the plant than to take the combined resources and efforts of the Department, Goodyear and the United Steelworkers to turn the Goodyear Danville Plant into one of the safest and healthiest places to work in the country”, said Commissioner C. Ray Davenport. 

“Goodyear is committed to working in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United Steelworkers to continually identify hazards and improve the safety of our Danville plant, with the goal of acceptance in the Commonwealth’s Voluntary Protection Program,” said Greg Kerr, plant manager, Goodyear Danville.  “On a personal note, having been recently named Danville’s plant manager, I want to assure the Danville community and all my coworkers that nothing is more important to me or Goodyear than the safety of our associates.”

“The USW continues to mourn for our fallen sister and brothers, but we also recognize that health & safety conditions at the Danville plant have improved and will continue to do so. Much of the improvement is a direct result of the involvement of the union working with Goodyear and VOSH during the investigations and during the settlement process.” – Thomas M. Conway, International Vice President (Administration), United Steelworkers (USW)

“USW Local Union 831L is pleased that this process has concluded with a very positive settlement agreement that will benefit all of us working at the Danville Goodyear plant now and in the future.  While nothing will replace our sister and brothers who were fatally injured, the elements of the settlement agreement between VOSH and Goodyear will greatly improve safety at the Danville plant.” – Danny Barber, President, USW Local Union 831L

Commissioner Davenport further noted that “It is anticipated that the VPP application process may take as long as five years and represents a significant commitment by Goodyear to the Commonwealth.  The agreement also provides that Goodyear will host in the Danville metropolitan area three important  VPP  Best  Practices  Day training sessions for hundreds of employers from around the state during 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Goodyear’s Danville facility covers 56 acres and employs approximately 2,200 workers. The plant manufactures aviation and specialty tires, and operates on three shifts.  Employees at the plant are represented by Local 831 of the United Steelworkers.

Over the course of the last eighteen months, the VOSH Program conducted four fatal accident investigations, two non-fatal   accident   investigations, three employee complaint inspections and comprehensive safety and comprehensive health “wall-to-wall” inspections.

The comprehensive settlement entered into by the parties today resolves all of the open VOSH cases and investigations conducted by the Department at the Danville Plant during this period. The settlement terms are contained in a pre-citation agreement which resolves the four current open cases, as well as a post-contest settlement agreement which, when signed, will resolve the six outstanding contested cases.  The parties are submitting both agreements to the Danville Circuit Court  for entry of  an  agreed  order.  The full terms of the comprehensive settlement will be available upon entry of the agreed order by the Danville Circuit Court.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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