US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Pelham, Ala., wood manufacturer
with 17 safety violations for exposing workers to a variety of hazards
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Smith Family Cos. Inc. of Pelham with 17 safety violations for exposing workers to a variety of hazards, with proposed penalties of $51,100. The inspection was triggered as part of OSHA's site-specific targeting program for industries with high occupational injury and illness rates. Smith Family Cos. Inc. is primarily engaged in cutting plywood to customer specifications.
"Targeting industries with higher-than-average injury and illness rates is an efficient use of OSHA's resources and allows the agency to focus on industries where workers are most at risk," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA's area director in Birmingham. "A number of electrical hazards were found at Smith Family Cos. that exposed workers to electrical shocks and burns. It is unacceptable to expose workers to these kinds of hazardous working conditions."
OSHA is citing the company with 16 serious violations, including failing to use lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources; provide railings for unguarded open-sided floors; mark permanent aisles or passageways where mechanical equipment was used; ensure tiers of wood were stacked, blocked, interlocked or limited in height so that they were stable and secure against sliding or collapse; provide emergency stop bars in red on hazardous machines; provide machine guarding; and provide appropriate splicing of electrical cords servicing equipment and ground prongs for extension cords. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company is also being cited with one other-than-serious violation for an exit that was not clearly visible and marked. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA's site-specific targeting program is the agency's main programmed inspection plan for non-construction workplaces that have 40 or more employees. The SST plan is based on the data received from the prior year's OSHA Data Initiative survey. The Data Initiative survey and the SST program help OSHA achieve its goal of reducing the number of injuries and illnesses that occur at individual workplaces by directing enforcement resources to those workplaces where the highest rate of injuries and illness have occurred.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham Area Office located at 950 N. 22 St., Suite 1050, Birmingham, AL 35203; telephone 205-731-1534. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.