Two supervisors at an aluminum manufacturing company in North Jackson have been charged with lying during an investigation into an employee’s death on the job.
Brian Carder, 62, of Stow, and Paul Love, 57, of Lake Milton, are both charged with one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and obstruction of proceedings. Love is also charged with one count of making false statements to law enforcement.
The accident at Extrudex happened on October 30, 2012. Two metal racks stacked on top of each other with hot aluminum — weighing about 4,000 to 5,000 pounds — tipped over onto two employees who were pushing it on the roller conveyor system.
Both employees were pinned under the hot equipment. John-Jack Tomlin, Jr., 21, of Niles, was pronounced dead at the scene. Dallas Bright, who was 19 at the time, was rescued by other employees and hospitalized with severe burns.
According to the indictment, Carder, the general manager, sent an email in 2009 to employees about maintenance and safety issues with the racks and roller system in the oven used to process aluminum. The email said the system was “in need of dire attention” and issues with the system “must be a priority or someone is going to get seriously hurt,” according to investigators.
Love, the safety coordinator and human resources director, sent an email in 2011 to employees about the oven racks falling off the rollers.
The indictment says again in June of 2012, Carder sent an email to Love and other employees about safety issues with the system, saying he saw the racks falling off. He said it needs regular monitoring and maintenance, adding “we are going to wait until someone gets seriously injury [sic] or possibly killed when a rack falls on them,” the indictment states.
Love forwarded the email, agreeing that routine inspection “must be a top priority issue.”
An employee sent an email to Love a few weeks later, saying a rack fell off and the system kept “freezing up.” That same employee sent a second email about the same issue in October of 2012.
The employee was killed days after that second email.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) started investigating.
OSHA asked for the emails that had gone back and forth before the accident and, according to the investigation, Carder and Love left out the email from June of 2012.
Investigators said Carder and Love gave false statements and persuaded employees to do the same, threatening their jobs.
“These supervisors threatened employees and lied to investigators,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “They will be held accountable.”
Everything is still under investigation.