Numerous Workplace Safety Violations at Goodyear Plant in Danville

Jeanie Strader. Kevin Waid Edmonds. Charles Cooper. William “Billy” Scheier. These are employees who suffered fatalities while working at the Goodyear Plant in Danville, Virginia between August 31, 2015 and August 12, 2016.

You shouldn’t fear for your life when you go to work. The workplace should be safe. Unfortunately it wasn’t for these employees at the Danville Goodyear Plant.

Goodyear is the largest employer in Danville. Its facility covers roughly 50 acres and employs more than 2,000 workers. The plant manufactures specialty and aviation tires. Local 831 of the United Steelworkers of America represents the plant’s employees.

The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Compliance Program (VOSH) issued citations for the fatal accidents involving Strader, Edmonds, and Cooper. Strader was killed when she was caught in machine rollers. Edmonds was pinned between a wall and a heavy pallet containing 3500 pounds of rubber that was being moved by a forklift. And Cooper died from burns and drowning; he was found in a deep pit/sump that contained boiling water and oil.

Danville’s Goodyear Plant also received VOSH citations for non-fatal injuries in 2016, which included a finger-tip amputation and burns while retesting a tire curing press. In addition, VOSH cited Danville’s Goodyear Plant for other safety violations.

Goodyear contested the citations and accompanying fines.

On August 12, 2016 Scheier was fatally injured while adjusting a proximity switch that was near a cutter wheel. He suffered blunt injuries to his chest and mechanical asphyxiation. VOSH investigated Scheier’s death and found other workplace safety violations, including:

  • A floor hole that was not guarded. Persons could walk into the hole accidentally and get injured.
  • The perimeter of the drum room roof had a fixed ladder installed, but no guardrails to protect from falls.
  • Training on “machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures had not been provided to all employees authorized to perform lockout/tagout on the alpha shears and other similar equipment.”
  • Openings in fan blade guards that were too wide.
  • An unguarded rotating shaft at an alpha shear to which workers were exposed.

These are serious violations. And serious workplace safety violations put employees at greater risk for serious injury or even death, as happened to these four employees.

Goodyear has agreed to pay roughly $1.75 million in penalties related to the deaths of these four employees at the plant and the other safety violations.

Sources: Crane, John. “Numerous violations found in August death at Goodyear.” Danville Register & Bee February 13, 2017.; Virginia Occupational Safety & Health Compliance Program website.

If you have a question about workplace safety or workers compensation in Danville, call Virginia workers compensation lawyer Corey Pollard today to discuss your legal rights. We represent injured workers and their families in Danville and across southern Virginia.