OSHA fines Continental Tire for multiple safety violations at Illinois tire plant

Washington, DC – In two separate incidents on consecutive days in November 2021, three workers at a southern Illinois tire plant suffered severe injuries in incidents associated with a mixer containing a combustible dust and a flammable gas, guarding moving equipment and the failure to implement and enforce procedures to control the unintentional energization of equipment during servicing.

On Nov. 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration received an employer-reported referral from Continental Tire the Americas LLC after an employee unjamming a machine suffered the amputation of three fingers. The next day, one employee suffered severe burns requiring hospitalization and another employee suffered a concussion injury after an industrial rubber-compound mixer exploded.

Following its investigations, OSHA issued the company citations for two repeated, 16 serious and five other than serious violations. Inspectors allege Continental Tire the Americas LLC had deficient safety procedures for energy control, combustible dust preventative engineering, housekeeping, personal protective equipment, emergency egress routes and hazard communication. The company faces $341,866 in proposed penalties.

“OSHA standards are put in place to prevent workers from suffering life-altering injuries,” said OSHA’s Area Director Aaron Priddy in Fairview Heights. “Continental Tire the Americas must learn from these tragic injuries, review company safety procedures and employee training and make sure workers are safe on the job.”

Based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, Continental Tire the Americas LLC manufactures passenger, light truck and commercial tires at facilities in Barnesville, Georgia; Mt. Vernon and Sumter, South Carolina. Continental is the North American subsidiary of the German-based tire and automotive component manufacturer Continental AG.

OSHA’s machine guarding, control of hazardous energy and combustible dust webpages provide information on what employers must do to limit worker exposure to machine and combustible dust hazards.