State fines tire company $67,500 over withheld data

Kelly-Springfield `waffled' on chemicals used at factory

Safety regulations


A state hearing officer has levied a $67,500 fine against the Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. for refusing to furnish Maryland's occupational safety and health agency with information about chemicals used at the firm's long-closed tire manufacturing plant in Cumberland.

Thomas G. Welshko, the hearing examiner, found Wednesday that Kelly-Springfield "has stonewalled and waffled" for seven years in withholding the chemical data from state workplace safety regulators.

Kelly closed its Cumberland tire plant in 1987, and the company has since been acquired by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., based in Akron, Ohio.

State regulators demanded the tire plant chemical data in 1992 after a lawyer for 64 former workers complained that the company was illegally withholding the information from his clients.

The former employees had filed lawsuits against Kelly claiming that their health was damaged by workplace exposure to toxic chemicals. All but one of the suits have been dismissed.

State and federal "right to know" regulations require businesses to disclose to their employees the hazardous substances in use in their workplace.

James Archibald, a lawyer for Kelly-Springfield, said the company would appeal the penalty. He said Kelly had agreed to supply the chemical data if regulators would keep it confidential as a trade secret, but the state refused to accept that condition.

Pub Date: 5/25/99

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