Indianapolis News and HeadlinesPublic Safety


Tipton factory employee dies after machine malfunction, police say

Workplace previously cited for workplace safety violation
High Performance Alloys, Inc.
Posted at 10:36 AM, Aug 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 12:18:08-04

TIPTON — A Howard County man died on the job early Friday when a machine at a local factory malfunctioned, police say.

Elliot Sullivan, 38, of Russiaville — a worker at High Performance Alloys, Inc., died from "massive" abdominal and chest trauma, and his death was ruled accidental, Tipton County Coroner Bob Nichols told WRTV.

Tipton police Sgt. Brad Robins said the incident was first reported to police about 7:56 a.m. at the factory, 444 Wilson St.

Robins said the malfunction led to Sullivan's "unfortunate and tragic death."

Robins added that there isn't a criminal investigation into Sullivan's death. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an inspection following the incident — and more specifically, looking at what caused the machine to malfunction.

High Performance Alloys describes itself as a family-owned and operated supplier, distributer, service center and producer of superalloys. It was started in 1984, according to its website.

The business was recently cited for a workplace safety issue, WRTV Investigates has learned.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a “serious” violation to High Performance Alloys on June 21, 2022.

IOSHA conducted an inspection at 444 Wilson Street between January 19 to May 9, records show.

It found a grinder was ineffectively guarded, which exposed employees at High Performance Alloys to potential “struck-by and caught-in hazards.”

“One or more methods of machine guarding shall be provided to protect the operator and other employees in the machine area from hazards such as those created by point of operation, ingoing nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks,” read the IOSHA safety order. “Examples of guarding methods are barrier guards, two-hand tripping devices, electronic safety devices, etc.”

The safety order said the issue was corrected during inspection and issued a $1,350 proposed penalty to the company.

A spokesperson for IOSHA, Stephanie McFarland, said the business participated in an expedited informal settlement agreement and paid a $877.50 penalty.

WRTV also reached out to High Performance Alloys for comment on Friday’s workplace death and the prior safety order.

The business is closed August 15-17, according to their voicemail.