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Region 4 News Release:    07-1756-ATL (350)
Nov. 14, 2007
Contact: Dan Fuqua   Michael Wald
Phone: (404) 562-2078   404-562-2076

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA proposes more than $45,000 in penalties against Littleville, Ala., lumber mill following fatality

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $45,550 in penalties against Lumber One Co. in Littleville, Ala., for 22 serious violations of federal workplace safety standards following a fatality at the plant in May 2007.

OSHA opened an investigation after being informed of the incident where a piece of lumber kicked back from an automatic multi-blade rip saw, hitting the operator and causing a fatal bruise to his heart.

"Rip saws are engineered with multiple safety features to prevent this kind of incident, but the employer's failure to keep the machines in good working order led to this death," said Roberto Sanchez, director of OSHA's Birmingham area office.

OSHA inspectors found that the saw's safety features, which were designed to prevent a board from pushing back against the operator, were worn and broken. In addition, an excessive amount of sawdust was allowed to accumulate near the machine, causing fire and other hazards. Further inspection of the other two rip saws indicated the same deficiencies, which the employer has since corrected.

Other safety violations included tripping hazards created by poor housekeeping, lack of machine guards, electrical hazards, inadequate training for maintenance staff, and no lockout/tagout procedures in place to prevent inadvertent machine start-ups.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Birmingham area office, 22nd St. North, Suite 1050 (telephone 205-731-1534).

OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.

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 assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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