Employer, Staffing Agencies Facing $2.5M in Fines Following Fatal Robot Accident

CUSETTA, AL – OSHA has issued citations for 23 serious and other-than-serious violations, including 19 egregious willful violations to Ajin USA as a result of the death of 20-year-old Regina Allen Elsea, who was crushed in a robotic machine at a manufacturing facility that stamps metal parts for Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

OSHA also cited two staffing agencies responsible for placing Elsea at the factory as a temporary worker – Alliance Total Solutions LLC and Joynus Staffing Corp. – for two serious safety violations each. Collectively, the three companies face $2,565,621 in penalties for the federal safety and health violations.

OSHA issued willful citations to Ajin USA for:

  • Failing to utilize energy control procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing;
  • Exposing workers to caught-in, struck-by and crushing hazards by allowing them to enter a robotic cell without shutting down and securing hazardous stored energy according to safety procedures;
  • Failing to provide safety locks to isolate hazardous energy; and
  • Exposing employees to crushing and amputation hazards due to improper machine guarding.

OSHA cited Alliance and Joynus for failing to use specific safety procedures to control potentially hazardous stored energy during maintenance and servicing and not providing or ensuring employees had locks to properly shut down machinery.

In 2015, OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels traveled to Korea and met with Hyundai and Kia’s top managers, warning them of hazardous conditions at their suppliers, explaining that the automobile firms’ production policies were endangering workers at the suppliers’ factories.

Alliance and Joynus, both based in Opelika, provide approximately 250 temporary employees to Ajin USA. Elsea was hired to work at Ajin through Alliance Total Solutions.