Region 1 News Release: BOS 2000-008
Thursday, January 27, 2000
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PHONE : (617) 565-2074
Employers reminded that they must report on-the-job fatalities to OSHA
OSHA CITES LITTLETON, N.H., LOGGING CONTRACTOR FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL, SERIOUS AND OTHER SAFETY VIOLATIONS FOLLOWING WORKER DEATH
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Timberwolf Logging, a Littleton, New Hampshire, logging contractor, for alleged Willful, Serious and Other than Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following the death of a worker at a Shelburne, N.H., worksite and has proposed penalties totaling $15,700.
According to David May, OSHA area director for New Hampshire, the violations were discovered during an inspection conducted between January 13 and 17, 2000, and chiefly concern violations of OSHA's logging safety standard and failure to notify OSHA of the fatality in a timely manner.
On January 12, an employee of Timberwolf Logging was killed at a worksite off Ingalls Valley Road in Shelburne when he was crushed between a fuel truck and a skidder that were stopped on an incline. The worker was standing between the two vehicles when the fuel truck rolled back and killed him.
"The inspection found that neither the truck's parking brake, nor its regular brake system were functioning," said May. "Consequently, the parking brake could not have prevented the truck from rolling free, even if it had been set."
May said the inspection identified other logging safety deficiencies, including a lack of employee training in the logging standard, first aid and CPR, failure to conduct required safety and health meetings, lack of a first aid kit or fire extinguisher on the truck, and failure to maintain adequate communication among workers at remote worksites.
Noting that the company was also cited for failing to notify OSHA of the fatality in a timely manner, May reminded Granite State employers that the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires that they notify OSHA within 8 hours of any on-the-job death or any accident which results in the hospitalization of 3 or more workers.
In New Hampshire, they can notify the Concord OSHA area office at 603-225-1629 or call OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline --1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) 24 hours a day. The hotline may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
Logging remains among the country's most dangerous occupations, accounting for 128 deaths per 100,000 workers nationwide in 1997, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. OSHA has identified logging as a significant high hazard industry, and through its Strategic Plan is attempting to reduce injuries and illnesses within this industry by at least 15%.
"OSHA's logging safety standard covers all aspects of logging operations, including, among other things, felling and moving trees, worker training, the use of personal protective equipment, first aid and the transporting of workers, vehicles and equipment to and from often remote locations," said May. "OSHA's Internet website, www.osha.gov, includes a home page on logging safety - http://www.osha-slc.gov/SLTC/logging/index.html -- which provides detailed technical information including a test version of an interactive logging technical advisor."
The logging technical advisor, he noted, examines logging procedures, explains the scope and requirements of OSHA's logging standard, links to specific sections of the standard as well as to additional information resources, and supplements the text with illustrations, tables and other graphical elements, all designed to provide workers and employers with the information they need to help ensure a safe and healthful job.
Specifically the citations and proposed penalties encompass the following:
One alleged Willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $5,500, for non-functioning service brakes on the truck.
Eleven alleged Serious violations, with $8,700 in penalties proposed, for: no first-aid kits available; fuel truck lacking a fire extinguisher; alternative communications not maintained when distance, noise, reduced visibility or other factors prevented clear vocal communication among workers; neither parking brake nor lock brake set prior to operator's leaving the truck; non-functioning parking brake systems in the fuel truck; failure to assure the fuel truck was maintained in a serviceable condition; truck and skidder not inspected before each workshift; training not provided to employees; failure to assure that each employee received required first aid and CPR training; required safety and health meetings not conducted; no written exposure control program for employees expected to perform first aid duties as part of their job.
Two alleged Other than Serious violations, with a $1,500 penalty proposed, for: failure to notify OSHA of a workplace fatality within 8 hours; and failure to check a portable fire extinguisher.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.