Worker exposure to amputation hazards and excessive noise leads to serious and
willful violations cited following US Department of Labor OSHA investigation
Proposed penalties of $145,200 issued to Buchman Lumber Co.
SPRINGBROOK, Wis. – A complaint investigation found workers at Buchman Lumber Co. LLC were exposed to excessive noise and amputation hazards at the Springbrook lumber plant. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the company for 17-including four willful-violations and proposed penalties of $145,200. OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"OSHA's inspection found multiple violations of procedures that protect workers from the serious hazards of exposure to excessive noise in the workplace and numerous amputation hazards*. Employee exposure to excessive noise can lead to permanent, disabling injury," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director for Eau Claire. "In addition, injuries related to machinery and equipment often result in death or permanent disability. Employers have a responsibility to conduct hazard assessments of their workplaces, to implement proper procedures for equipment use, provide the necessary protective equipment and train workers in safe operation."
OSHA initiated a complaint investigation in December 2013 and expanded it to a comprehensive inspection of the entire facility because of the number and magnitude of hazards found.
OSHA's investigation found four willful violations, including failing to administer a hearing conservation program; to provide eye and face protection to workers exposed to flying wood chips and boards; and to implement lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machines from turning on during maintenance and servicing. Lockout/tagout procedures protect workers from being caught in equipment and prevent laceration and amputation hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Buchman Lumber was cited for 13 serious violations, including multiple incidents of failing to provide adequate machine guarding on shafts, belts, pulleys, saws, conveyors and drives. Other violations involved failing to develop and train workers in a hazard communication program, electrical safety violations and failing to conduct assessments for required personal protective equipment and permit-required confined spaces.
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.
To view the citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Buchman_Lumber_Company_LLC_951916.pdf*
Buchman Lumber has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Eau Claire Area Office at 715-832-9019.
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.
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