Hose Manufacturer Again Accused of Worker Safety Violations

Federal officials have investigated the company eight times in the past 11 years.

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BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio — In October 2023, following the receipt of a complaint, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors opened an inspection at an Ohio industrial hose manufacturer’s Bellefontaine plant.

This was OSHA’s eighth investigation into HBD Thermoid Inc. since 2013. 

Following its inspection, OSHA issued HBD/Thermoid Inc. 14 violations — one willful, 11 serious and two other-than-serious — related to a lack of adequate machine guarding, electrical safe work practices, training and lockout/tagout procedures to prevent sudden machine start-ups or movement. 

OSHA assessed the company $321,489 in proposed penalties.

“The lack of safety procedures throughout the HBD/Thermoid plant and the company’s inaction shows that they remain indifferent to their obligation to protect their employees,” said OSHA Area Director Todd Jensen in Toledo, Ohio. “For more than a decade, the company has jeopardized its employees’ well-being by not making workplace safety and health a priority.” 

At the time this investigation was opened, OSHA was still investigating how a 25-year-old employee suffered severe injuries at the same Bellefontaine facility in June 2023. OSHA concluded the inspection by issuing two repeat violations and one willful, one serious and one other-than-serious violation on Dec. 20, 2023. For those safety failures, the agency assessed HBD/Thermoid Inc. $389,534 in proposed penalties. The company is contesting the December 2023 citations.

A wholly owned subsidiary of HBD Industries in Dublin, HBD/Thermoid Inc. operates manufacturing facilities in Bellefontaine as well as in Chanute, Kansas, and Oneida, Tennessee. The company makes industrial hoses, conveyor belting and duct materials for use by a range of industries.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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