The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Vaughn Lumber for 39 alleged serious safety and health violations and proposed penalties totaling $66,650 after investigating a fatal accident at the company’s Forsyth, Georgia sawmill.
“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed safety standards that require guards on the equipment involved in the accident,” said Gei-Thae Breezley, OSHA’s Atlanta-East area director.
OSHA investigators reportedly determined that an employee cleaning wood chips from moving conveyor rollers of a debarking machine was pulled into the machinery when the tool he was using became caught in the rollers. The agency issued one serious citation directly related to the fatality, with a proposed penalty of $4,900, for lack of safety guards on the machine.
The company also received 38 serious citations, with total proposed penalties of $61,750, for other safety and health hazards observed during the September 2005 fatality investigation. These included: lack of safety guards on other machinery; unguarded wall openings; missing stair railings; damaged electrical equipment, ladders and work platforms; lack of emergency eye wash stations; unsafe storage of equipment and chemical cylinders; and failure to establish and maintain effective hearing conservation and hazard communication programs.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to contest them and the proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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