News

Investigation Launched After Worker’s Death At South Macon Manufacturing Plant

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration told WABE it's investigating Wednesday's death of 59-year-old William Bonner at the Nichiha manufacturing plant in South Macon.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration told WABE it's investigating Wednesday's death of 59-year-old William Bonner at the Nichiha manufacturing plant in South Macon.
Credit Jon Elswick / Associated Press file
'Add to My List' icon 'Added to My List' icon Add to My List In My List

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation following yet another death at the Nichiha manufacturing plant in South Macon.

An OSHA spokesman told WABE it’s  investigating Wednesday’s death of 59-year-old William Bonner at the plant, owned by a Japanese corporation.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones told WABE that Bonner died after being knocked down by a robotic arm onto a conveyor belt and later crushed by pallets and that another worker died in 2008 after being caught by a machine.

The Macon Telegraph reports the plant has been cited for other violations that have resulted in amputations.

Nichiha officials have not returned WABE’s call, but the Macon Telegraph published a statement by the company that was emailed to the newspaper.

“We are saddened and shocked by this loss of life and we are committed to doing all we can to understand how this tragedy occurred and to prevent it from happening again,” the statement read.

“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Bonner.”

Nichiha USA, a subsidiary of the Nichiha Corp., has received several OSHA citations in the past.

In a 2009 press release, OSHA accused the company’s management of creating a hazardous work environment that resulted in amputations and other injuries.

“Following a fatality in 2008, OSHA inspected this plant and identified several deficiencies,” said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office.

“Despite management’s agreement at the time, our return inspection in 2009 has found that the company continues to endanger its workers’ safety and health. The size of these penalties reflects management’s failure to address its problems,” Breezley said.