Region 4 News Release: USDL: 99-29
Monday, March 01, 1999
Contact: Dan Fuqua Lorette Dempsey
PHONE :404/562-2078 404/562-2076
ROYAL OAK ENTERPRISES FINED $132,000 FOLLOWING
ELECTROCUTION AT OCALA PLANT
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
has cited Royal Oak Enterprises, Inc., and proposed penalties totaling $132,000 following the
electrocution of an employee at the company's Ocala, Florida, plant.
According to James Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director, the firm employs 85
workers in Ocala to manufacture various types of wood charcoal. A previous OSHA inspection
at this site in 1991 was also initiated by an electrocution.
OSHA's most recent inspection began after a furnace operator contacted live electrical
parts while attempting to restart a machine, called a hammer mill, that grinds burnt wood char
into a powder that is eventually used in press operations. When the hammer mill clogs with
damp material, which happens several times every shift, the machine is shut down so it can be
cleaned and then restarted. The victim was killed when he touched an energized electrical
terminal while attempting to reach the restart switch inside an electrical cabinet.
OSHA proposed a $50,000 penalty for one repeat safety violation for exposed live
electrical parts. An additional $81,000 penalty was proposed for 19 serious safety violations.
The serious hazards included violations involving emergency response, confined space,
equipment guarding, welding, electrical and safe work practices, chemical labeling, not
providing fire extinguishers at a flammable liquid storage area, and failing to assure that
hazardous machinery is turned off and remains inoperative, or "locked out," during maintenance.
The remaining penalty of $1,000 was proposed for several other-than-serious violations.
"There is no excuse for this employer's indifference to worker safety," said Borders.
"OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a
similar safety violation. In 1991, OSHA conducted an inspection of the Ocala plant after an
employee was electrocuted because of exposed live wires, and the two most recent OSHA
citations against Royal Oak were issued in 1996 and 1997 for violations at the Branson,
Missouri, plant for exposed live electrical wiring."
In addressing the "lockout" violations, Borders added, "Failure to lock out equipment
during servicing can expose workers to injury, and even death, if the equipment is accidentally
started. This company showed a general lack of concern for the welfare of its workers."
OSHA defines a serious violation as one where there is a substantial probability that
death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of
A repeat violation occurs when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially
similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health
Other-than-serious violations do not have substantial probability of causing death or
serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health
Inspections of the Ocala plant were conducted by OSHA's Jacksonville area office
located at the Ribault Building, Room 227, 1851 Executive Center Dr., Jacksonville, Fla. 32207;
telephone: (904) 232-2895.
This information will be made available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request.
Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD). Telephone: (800) 927-9273.