US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Georgia wooden pallet manufacturer
for 18 safety and health violations, proposes nearly $88,000 in penalties
SUWANEE, Ga. – Wooden pallet manufacturer Charles Greer Lumber Co. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 18 safety and health violations following an April inspection of the company's plant in Suwanee. Penalties total $87,780.
Five repeat safety violations with $47,520 in fines involve failing to install machine guards on the pulley system, enclose sprocket wheels and chains, provide barriers to prevent employees from entering the space where logs are moved, ensure that electrical boxes had covers and conduct an annual maintenance inspection of fire extinguishers. Additionally, one repeat health violation with a $6,600 fine was cited for failing to establish a program to test the hearing of workers exposed to loud noises. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited for similar safety violations in 2009 and for a similar health violation in 2008.
Eleven serious safety violations with $33,660 in fines involve failing to develop lockout/tagout procedures for when employees conduct servicing and maintenance on equipment to prevent accidental startup, provide locks or suitable hardware for the lockout/tagout process, install machine guards on band saws, provide employees using chainsaws with leg protection, properly light exit signs, and ensure fire extinguishers were readily available and visually inspected each month. The violations also include several electrical hazards, such as damaged equipment, exposed live parts, uncovered openings in cabinets and boxes, flexible cords spliced together and a lack of strain relief for 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.
One other-than-serious safety violation with no monetary penalty was cited for failing to certify that employees were trained in procedures to lock out/tag out the energy sources of equipment. 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.
"Management must take a proactive approach to recognizing and eliminating workplace hazards that jeopardize the safety and health of employees," said William Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office.
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 Atlanta-East office, 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga. 30084; telephone 770-493-6644. 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.