Judge upholds $2,125 fine against Titan Tire

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 2, 2000

A judge has ruled Titan Tire must pay a $2,125 fine for having electrical equipment in an improper location in its Natchez plant — namely, a mixing room where two workers were badly burned Oct. 4.

The decision by Judge Stephen Simko Jr. upholds a Dec. 15 citation the Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued Titan for having electrical equipment that was not approved for that location. Titan plans to appeal as soon as possible, said Communications Director Pam Hunt. Titan has until June 11 to appeal to the full commission. If the three-judge panel reaches the same decision, Titan can appeal to Circuit Court.

&uot;We are still reviewing the decision, … but we will abide by (the law),&uot; said Plant Manager Dave Fines, who said the electrical upgrades have been made.

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A $2,125 fine &uot;is a drop in the bucket for Titan,&uot; said Paul Baxter, who was in his seventh day on the job when he was burned. &uot;I could make that much in a week at Titan.&uot;

Baxter and Marsalla Robinson were both burned Oct. 4 when carbon black dust ignited around a mixing machine — a machine that, according to an April hearing before Simko, already belched out dust once that morning due to malfunctioning parts. Simko’s decision said a 110-volt outlet, fluorescent light and shop light should not have been near the machine, but stopped short of saying the equipment ignited a dust cloud belched from the machine.

After a month-long probe into the banbury fire, OSHA on Dec. 15 &uot;issued a citation for a violation of the electrical code that required a higher level of electrical wiring around the banbury mixer to prevent explosions,&uot;&160;said Clyde Payne, director of OSHA’s Jackson office. &uot;That’s not to say that the fixtures caused the explosion, but the electrical (equipment) should have been protected from belches by the machine.&uot;