U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

Mississippi sawmill exposes workers to unprotected machinery, combustible dust and other hazards

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OSHA proposes nearly $80K in fines

Employer name: Tallahatchie Lumber and Mat Co. Inc.

Inspection findings: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the employer one willful, 22 serious and four other-than-serious safety citations. The agency initiated the investigation as part of its National Emphasis Program on Amputations.

Citations issued: Citations were issued on August 31.

Investigation findings: The willful citation was for not ensuring that safety devices were used to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing.

The serious violations relate to the employer failing to ensure that workers followed safety procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing; exposing workers to unguarded machinery, not providing safety rails on staircases and platforms, and exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards due to combustible dust accumulation.

Proposed penalties: $78,800

Quote: 'A machine that starts up while a worker is maintaining is a serious safety risk – one that could send a worker to a hospital, yet Tallahatchie management made no efforts to ensure workers were protected,' said Eugene Stewart, OSHA’s area director in Jackson. 'There is no excuse for an employer to disregard the safety and health of its employees and put them at risk of death and serious injury. We are looking for immediate action from the company to address these hazards.'

The citations can be viewed at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20151670.pdf

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