An Alabama sawmill was fined $439,000 today by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for 53 safety and health violations that included the death of one worker and crittical injury of another.
OSHA said in a news release that MDLG, doing business as Phenix Lumber of Phenix City, Ala., has repeatedly failed to fulfill its promises to correct violations. In March, the Labor Department agency said, OSHA inspectors opened a follow-up joint safety and health inspection to verify whether the company had corrected problems that had previously been identified and that Phenix Lumber hadn't corrected.
"Before OSHA could conclude its review, one worker was killed when his head was crushed between a motor being hoisted with a forklift and other equipment" OSHA's announcement said. "Another worker was seriously injured after he fell approximately 10 feet, breaking his neck, while doing daily maintenance on the debarker in the sawmill."
"Phenix Lumber has a history of saying it will correct its safety deficiencies, yet continues to allow a hazardous environment for its workers," the news release quoted Cindy Coe, regional administrator for OSHA in Atlanta, as saying. "This horrendous situation cannot continue and will not be tolerated."
The company has 15 days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings.
In connection with the fatality, Phenix Lumber has been issued one willful and five serious safety and health citations for permitting a worker to stand under an elevated portion of a powered industrial truck allowing a crushing injury, OSHA said. In relation to the fall resulting in critical injury, the company has been issued one willful, one repeat and one serious safety citation for not providing guardrails and fall protection, and not having a means to disconnect a rotor motor.
"The follow-up inspection additionally resulted in the company being issued two failure-to-abate, 11 repeat, 21 serious and 10 other-than-serious safety and health citations for other violations," OSHA said., "Those violations include failing to provide energy control procedures for equipment and machinery that require more than one lockout device, failing to provide proper electrical enclosures around live conductors and allowing ignitable or combustible dust to accumulate."