Globe Metallurgical Inc. sanctioned in death

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2004

From Staff Reports

MOBILE- The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Globe Metallurgical Inc., and proposed $40,500 in total penalties, following the investigation of a fatal accident at the company’s Selma plant.

On May 28, a company employee, Tony Bradley, reportedly was exposed to temperatures above 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit when an electric arc furnace erupted. Bradley died June 4, from severe burns.

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“This tragedy could have been prevented if the company had followed recognized industry safety practices,” said Ken Atha, OSHA’s Mobile area director.

Globe representative Howard Mavity told the AP that the company believes that it was following recognized industry practices.

“While the company may appeal the citations, it will nonetheless continue to work with OSHA to insure that we continue to maintain a safe workplace,” Mavity said, according to the AP.

The company received two serious citations directly related to the accident for failing to require furnace operators to wear aluminized jackets and failing to automatically charge furnaces. The proposed penalties for these two alleged violations total $10,000.

OSHA also issued 11 additional serious citations, which included lack of required written safety plans, fall hazards, unsafe electrical equipment and modifications to motorized equipment not authorized by the manufacturer. Proposed penalties total $30,500.

OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Bradley and fellow employee Arthur Thicklin were performing maintenance on the furnace.

Thicklin received burns to his shoulder in the incident.

“The only thing I knew is the thing exploded,” Thicklin told The Times-Journal in June. “I just remember a big explosion.”

The company has 15 days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The worksite was inspected by OSHA’s Mobile area office; 1141 Montlimar Drive, Suite 1006; phone (251) 441-6131.

Since 1990, three other fatalities have occurred at the facility.

In July 1996, Johnny Dunkin was killed when a furnace erupted.

Two more were killed in a similar accident in 1990, according to a Times-Journal article on Dunkin’s death.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure the safety and health of America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit