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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 11-906-ATL (320)
June 28, 2011
Contact: Michael D'Aquino Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076 404-562-2078
Email: d'


Lumber company cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for safety
and health violations following fatal electrocution at Mississippi sawmill

FULTON, Miss. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Graham Lumber Co. for 15 safety and health violations following the March death of a worker who was electrocuted at the company's Fulton sawmill while troubleshooting a malfunctioning starter inside a motor power control center.

Two serious safety violations related to the fatality include failing to train employees on work safety practices and allowing unqualified employees to work on energized equipment. Eleven other serious safety violations include failing to have protective shields, barriers or insulating material to protect employees who could come into contact with energized parts; having a damaged electrical cord on a footswitch; not properly grounding a floor fan; failing to adequately protect electrical cables; storing oxygen cylinders less than 20 feet from gas cylinders; failing to separate and store oxygen cylinders away from combustible material; exposing workers to burns and struck-by hazards from unsecured acetylene cylinders; failing to take precautions to protect the propane gas system from vehicular damage; and having an unguarded shaft end. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two other-than-serious health violations were cited for failing to post and provide employees with a copy of the noise standard, and to include the chemical inventory in the company's hazard communication program. 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.

"This fatality could have been prevented had the employer provided proper training, procedures and protective equipment to safeguard workers against safety hazards,¿ said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson. "It is the employer's responsibility to assess workplace hazards and ensure corrective measures are taken to protect employees.¿

Graham Lumber Co., a subsidiary of Waynesboro, Va.-based American Hardwood Industries, operates two other sawmills in Linden and Selmer, Tenn., and has its corporate office in Linden. The company mills hardwood lumber primarily for the flooring industry.

Proposed penalties total $41,310. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Jackson Area Office, 100 W. Capitol St., Suite 749, Jackson, Miss. 39269; telephone 601-965-4606. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 (OSHA).

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


U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at 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.