Ark. Company Fined $13,500 in Fire that Killed 1, Injured 2

February 13, 2008

Deltic Timber Corp. has been fined $13,500 for three safety violations at its sawmill near Waldo, Ark., after a fire caused the death of one worker and injured two others.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspected the mill following the Aug. 9 fire. OSHA said an enclosure for the planer room, where the fire broke out, and the dust-collection system were not built to National Fire Protection Association standards, and exposed employees to intense flames, heat and sparks.

OSHA listed the three violations as “serious,” the agency’s designation for violations where there’s a substantial probability of death or serious physical harm.

Diana Petterson, a spokeswoman for OSHA at Dallas, said Deltic Timber has addressed the problems, although the company is contesting the citation and fine.

Craig Douglass, a spokesman for the El Dorado-based company, said Deltic completed the corrective actions recommended by OSHA before starting the mill back up Oct. 30. The mill employs about 175 people.

In the fire, Darrell Richards of Junction City suffered burns on most of his body and died Sept. 1 at a hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Andy Emerson of Taylor and Billy Pope of Springhill, La., were injured and hospitalized. Douglass said the two men have not returned to work but are back at home and receiving physical therapy.

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