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OSHA News Release
Region 5

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Region 5 News Release: 09-987-CHI
Aug. 18, 2009
Contact: Scott Allen or Brad Mitchell
Phone: 312-353-6976


U.S. Labor Department's OSHA levies $76,500 in proposed penalties against East Sparta Ohio-based S&N Pallets Inc.

EAST SPARTA, Ohio -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited S&N Pallets Inc. in East Sparta, Ohio, with proposed penalties totaling $76,500 for alleged willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA conducted a comprehensive safety and health inspection and found that a worker had three fingers amputated from an un-guarded sidewinder band saw. The company was cited for an alleged willful violation with a proposed penalty of $28,000 for failing to provide adequate machine guarding on the sidewinder band saw. An employer may be cited for a willful violation when evidence shows an intentional disregard or plain indifference to OSHA standards.

The company also was cited for serious violations with proposed penalties of $48,000 for failing to ensure explosive wood dust was removed from electrical conduit boxes, structural support beams, and other surfaces that could be an explosive hazard. Serious citations were also issued for lack of proper employee equipment, training and testing for hearing conservation, and for a lack of proper electrical protective equipment for employees working in and around electrical hazards. A serious violation is one that could cause death or serious physical harm to workers from the condition.

The company was also cited $500 for improper accident logs.

"It is extremely important that companies ensure safety and health procedures are initiated and enforced in order to prevent accidents such as amputations or dust explosions," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA area director in Columbus, Ohio. "OSHA's intention and purpose is to make sure workers return home, safe and healthy, at the end of every shift."

S&N Pallets Inc., which employs 30 workers, makes and reconditions pallets. The company has been cited by OSHA 12 times at various locations in Ohio, including similar OSHA citations in 1984 and 1989 for failing to provide proper guarding on band saws. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit


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