Adams Thermal Systems Helps With Donation
Adams Thermal made a donation of $5,000 to the Canton Volunteer Fire Department for the purchase of bunker gear recently. Mike Adams, CEO of Adams Thermal Systems said, “We’ve been supporting the fire department every year since we opened our doors. Our volunteer firefighters are also neighbors, employees and friends. So of course we want to provide for their safety – even as they keep our families, homes and businesses safe.” Pictured left to right: firefighters Kyle Lease, Russ Heggen, Thomas Deuter (Adams), L.D. Tifft, Dan Anderson, Mike Adams (Adams Thermal CEO) and Chief Brian Severson.
Who Makes America – Terex Bid-Well
Terex Bid-Well of Canton was named the winner of the Who Makes America Contest earlier this year. The fruits of that award came in the presentation of a $1,000 check Friday, July 19, at Bid-Well here, a local employer of 48 team members.
“We really did a full circle on this presentation,” said General Manager Rob Drew. “We took that $1,000 and matched it and turned around and gave it to the Canton Volunteer Fire Department. They, in turn, announced they were going to use the donation to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Firefighter L.D. Tift, who also is a team member here at Bid-Well.”
The donation is nothing new for Bid-Well, started more than 50 years ago right here in Canton. The company has donated funds, resources and time and labor to several organizations and businesses in the area. From paving driveways, parking lots and other paving projects to supporting their team members’ service on the fire department, Bid-Well continues to be a “pillar of the Canton Community,” in Drew’s words.
The I Make America Campaign was launched in 2010 by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) as a “grassroots campaign to dramatically increase jobs for America’s equipment manufacturers.” The I Make America campaign asks equipment manufacturers to support the program by visiting www.IMakeAmerica.com and signing their names in support of the campaign.
Terex Bid-Well team members were nominated by a fellow employee for their hard work both in the factory and in the community of Canton. They company received 350 votes in support of their nomination via Facebook and email during the public voting period and took top honors among 70 other industries.
The Terex Bid-Well facility manufactures a product line that helps maintain and modernize America’s critical transportation infrastructure system, including bridge deck pavers and overlay machines, road and airport pavers, texturing/curing machines, work bridges and specialized pavers and graders for slope and canal paving.
To honor the occasion, employees were treated to lunch, presented t-shirts with the I Make America information on them and also introduced several dignitaries present for the presentation. Among those present were Dennis Slater, President of I Make America; Andrew Curley representing Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s office, Ben Ready, representing Senator John Thune’s office; Brent Hoffman representing Senator Tim Johnson’s office and Gary Dennis, General Manager of Terex Construction.
AEM President Dennis Slater congratulated the employees, saying “I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to the Terex Bid-Well team for winning the ‘Who Makes America’ contest. Their hard work and dedication to the equipment manufacturing industry and their community epitomizes the I Make America campaign. This honor is well deserved, and we are proud to have these 48 employees represent the industry.”
“It was a great turn-out and we are proud to be able to named the I Make America winner,” Drew said. “We are also proud this presentation could help others through the donation to the Canton Volunteer Fire Department.”
Adams Thermal to pay spouse, fines related to 2011 accident
Adams Thermal Systems Inc., has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pay more than $1.33 million to resolve criminal penalties and OSHA fines levied as a result of the death of a worker on Nov. 7, 2011, in the company’s Canton plant. The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed the Deferred Prosecution Agreement on Sept. 5, 2013, and has asked that it be approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.
Under the terms of the agreement, the company will pay the worker’s surviving spouse $450,000, a criminal fine of $450,000 and the full OSHA fine of $435,000 stemming from the regulatory violations that caused the fatality and additional violations discovered in subsequent inspections.
OSHA’s investigation found the worker was fatally crushed in a machine used to make radiator cores, after management instructed and authorized workers to bypass the manufacturer’s barrier guard in order to adjust the machine to keep it running. OSHA also conducted two concurrent safety and health investigations at the company in February 2012, which resulted in 66 violations.
“Adams Thermal failed to provide a safe workplace, and those conditions ultimately took the life of a worker. There is no excuse for an employer to compromise safety to keep production running,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “The Department of Labor has worked diligently with the Office of the United States Attorney for South Dakota to resolve this case and provide justice to the family of this worker. No one should ever lose their life for a job.”
Because the willful violations cited by OSHA caused the worker’s death, the case was referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota in November 2012 for criminal prosecution. Criminal Chief Dennis Holmes handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“The purpose of this settlement, which was reached after discussions with the victim’s family, is to provide justice to the family and deter similar corporate conduct in the future,” said U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson. “The right of South Dakotans to a safe work environment isn’t optional, it is fundamental. I commend OSHA for their investigative efforts, and I am pleased with the settlement that has been reached.”
The agreement resolves both of the OSHA civil cases, and includes significant enhanced abatement of violations by the company. Adams Thermal Systems agreed to: increase the size of its safety and health department; implement a companywide safety and health program; provide incentives for managers and workers to report safety issues and make safety recommendations; and to hire a qualified third-party to review guarding and lockout/tagout for all plant machinery and to audit the abatement of all identified hazards. The company will also report quarterly to OSHA for three years on safety progress and reportable illnesses and injuries, and redesign the safety systems and procedures on the radiator core machine involved in the fatality.
The agreement will resolve three willful citations issued for $210,000 on April 26, 2012, as a result of the fatality investigation. The settlement also resolves the additional citations issued in August of 2012, following two concurrent comprehensive safety and health inspections, with proposed penalties of $225,000. The comprehensive safety and health cases involved 58 serious violations and eight other-than-serious violations addressing unlabeled piping systems; obstructions in aisles and passageways; unguarded machinery; crane and hoist hazards; improper exits; electrical hazards and exposures to chemicals, dust, and noise.
OSHA placed Adams Thermal Systems, which manufactures engine cooling systems for off-highway and on-highway vehicles, in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program in August 2012 as a result of these inspections. The program mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.
In a statement from Adams Thermal Systems Thursday, the company said, “We were shocked and deeply saddened by the accident on November 7, 2011 that took the life of Larry Kinzer, a friend and talented engineer. Larry continues to be missed by everyone who worked with him. We are keeping Larry’s wife and the rest of the Kinzer family in our thoughts and prayers.
Safety has always been a top priority in our organization. Larry’s memory has inspired, and will continue to inspire, our ongoing commitment to safety. We are fully committed to the health and well-being of our employees, both on and off the job.
We are grateful to have reached a resolution with OSHA and the Department of Justice that will benefit both Larry’s family and our family of current and future employees. While we respect the important roles these agencies play in ensuring employee safety, we are also thankful that through this resolution, these agencies have decided not to pursue any criminal prosecution or to seek any criminal plea.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the many people and organizations that have supported the Kinzer family and others who have been directly impacted by this tragedy. Your support has encouraged us and renewed our dedication to the great people and the great communities we serve.”
ATS’s Attorney Dan Harmelink, Woods Fuller Law Firm, said, “The agreement that was entered into by Adams and the government did not involve any plea of guilt or conviction of any crime. Through the agreement, the government agreed not to pursue any criminal charges against the company as long as the company satisfies certain requirements, such as implementing additional safety measures at its facility and paying agreed-upon amounts to the government and the Kinzer family.
This arrangement made sense to the company to move forward in a positive way. The company’s thankful the agreement has been entered into and that it can focus on being the best employer it can be and providing the safest work environment for its employees. This agreement will help the company do this.
I’ve worked with the folks at Adams Thermal since its start in 2003. I have a lot of respect for the management and the deep concern they have for their employees. This was a terrible tragedy, but it doesn’t change the fact Adams Thermal is a good company with a strong care for its employees.”