Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-163
Wed., Sept. 19, 2001
Contact: Teresa Harrison
Phone: (912) 652-4393
FATAL ACCIDENT RESULTS IN $80,150 FINE FOR EUFAULA PULPWOOD COMPANY
GEORGETOWN, Ga. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today cited Eufaula Pulpwood Company, Inc. and proposed penalties totaling $80,150 following a fatal accident at a Georgetown, Ga., job site.
OSHA began an inspection in response to an accident on April 2 which resulted in the death of an employee who was pulled into the rollers of a chipper machine and crushed. The chipper was turned on while the worker was inside the feed-in section of the machine replacing its chains.
During the inspection, OSHA found that company officials had received training from a forestry association about lockout/tagout procedures which require that a machine be de-energized during maintenance and repair. Additional training on safe operation and maintenance of the chipper, including locking out the machine during maintenance, was provided by a manufacturer's representative.
OSHA cited the company for one alleged willful violation of "lockout/tagout" standards and proposed a $49,000 penalty. A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
"This employer received extensive training on lockout/tagout requirements," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's Savannah area director. "Additionally, numerous warning signs warned of the danger of not locking out the machine. Following all the safety precautions would have prevented this tragic accident."
The remaining $31,150 penalty was proposed for nine serious safety violations, including failing to provide equipment for eye and face protection; not developing a lockout/tagout program; failing to follow the manufacturer's maintenance instructions; not providing proper railing on the machine platform; failing to develop and implement a hazard communication program, and not providing employees job hazard training or training in first aid and CPR. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Eufaula Pulpwood, which employs 80 workers, has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA has a national initiative targeting logging because of the high number of injuries and deaths in the industry. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Savannah area office located at 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite J, Savannah, Ga., 31406; telephone: (912) 652-4393.