Region 3 News Release: III-99-07-26-063-PGH
Mon., July 26, 1999
Contact: Leni Uddyback
PHONE: (215) 596-1130
HOPWOOD, PA COMPANY CITED BY OSHA AFTER WORKSITE ACCIDENT; $245,000 PROPOSED IN PENALTIES
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued citations to Coastal Lumber Company, Hopwood, Pa., for alleged safety and health violations and proposed penalties totaling $245,000. The company, headquartered in Weldon, NC, produces hardwood for wholesale trade. The Hopwood site employs 71 workers.
The inspection was initiated on January 29, 1999 after reports of a accident in which an employee lost both of his legs while performing routine machine maintenance.
According to Robert Szymanski, area director of the Pittsburgh OSHA office, Coastal received three willful violations, with a proposed penalty of $210,000 and seven serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $35,000.
The willful violations were due to the company's failure to conduct annual reviews of lockout procedures, which are necessary to prevent the inadvertent start of machinery during maintenance operations; failure to conduct retraining on employees when the employer observed deviation from lockout procedures and failure to provide a walkway or fall protection for employees required to perform machine maintenance at an elevated work location.
The serious violations resulted from deficiencies in the company's lockout program, including: the absence of program enforcement procedures; inadequate employee training in Lockout/Tagout; and employee use of improper lockout procedures.
"Coastal management's refusal to ensure employee compliance to crucial lockout procedures fostered an unsafe work environment and resulted in this life-threatening accident," says Szymanski.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations.
A serious violation involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either decide to comply, to request and informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspection was conducted by the Pittsburgh area office, Room 1428, Federal Building, 1000 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Telephone: (412) 395-4903.
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