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Tipton factory pays $7,000 fine for serious violation following August workplace death

Elliot Sullivan, 38, of Russiaville — a plant manager at High Performance Alloys, Inc., died on August 12 from "massive" abdominal and chest trauma.
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.
Posted at 12:04 PM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 12:35:39-05

TIPTON — A Tipton County company has been fined $7,000 for a “serious” violation following a workplace death.

Elliot Sullivan, 38, of Russiaville — a plant manager at High Performance Alloys, Inc. [hpalloy.com], died on August 12 from "massive" abdominal and chest trauma.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted inspections at the company’s 444 Wilson Street location between August 12 and November 4, records show.

According to a safety order issued on November 10, IOSHA found one serious violation.

“Employees were exposed to struck-by hazards while the Lake Erie Press was in operation,” read the safety order. “As the ram came down to make a cycle, the unsecured shims were expelled from the press striking employees.”

Stephanie McFarland, a spokesperson for IOSHA, said Wednesday High Performance Alloys paid the $7,000 penalty on November 22.

The safety order does not contain information about Sullivan’s death.

Tipton police Sgt. Brad Robins told WRTV in August a machine malfunction led to Sullivan's "unfortunate and tragic death."

IOSHA’s safety order said High Performance Alloys must take corrective action for the violation by December 13.

McFarland said IOSHA received abatement verification documentation from High Performance Alloys and IOSHA is reviewing it.

WRTV Investigates contacted the company on Tuesday for comment on the safety order, and we are still waiting to hear back.

Elliot Sullivan, a plant manager, is “greatly missed” by his coworkers, wife and three children.

Sullivan’s uncle, David Kirchner, told WRTV in August is also an owner at High Performance Alloys.

“He knew everyone and was friends with everyone here,” said Kirchner in an email to WRTV. “He was loved and will be greatly missed at HPA. I wish for others to know he worked for a family company and was family.”

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 [hpalloy.com].

The business also cited in June 2022 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 potentially be “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.

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