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Region 4 News Release:   USDL: 99-29
Monday, March 01, 1999
Contact: Dan Fuqua            Lorette Dempsey
PHONE :404/562-2078          404/562-2076

ROYAL OAK ENTERPRISES FINED $132,000 FOLLOWING
ELECTROCUTION AT OCALA PLANT

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Royal Oak Enterprises, Inc., and proposed penalties totaling $132,000 following the electrocution of an employee at the company's Ocala, Florida, plant.

According to James Borders, OSHA's Jacksonville area director, the firm employs 85 workers in Ocala to manufacture various types of wood charcoal. A previous OSHA inspection at this site in 1991 was also initiated by an electrocution.

OSHA's most recent inspection began after a furnace operator contacted live electrical parts while attempting to restart a machine, called a hammer mill, that grinds burnt wood char into a powder that is eventually used in press operations. When the hammer mill clogs with damp material, which happens several times every shift, the machine is shut down so it can be cleaned and then restarted. The victim was killed when he touched an energized electrical terminal while attempting to reach the restart switch inside an electrical cabinet.

OSHA proposed a $50,000 penalty for one repeat safety violation for exposed live electrical parts. An additional $81,000 penalty was proposed for 19 serious safety violations. The serious hazards included violations involving emergency response, confined space, equipment guarding, welding, electrical and safe work practices, chemical labeling, not providing fire extinguishers at a flammable liquid storage area, and failing to assure that hazardous machinery is turned off and remains inoperative, or "locked out," during maintenance. The remaining penalty of $1,000 was proposed for several other-than-serious violations.

"There is no excuse for this employer's indifference to worker safety," said Borders. "OSHA issues a repeat citation when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar safety violation. In 1991, OSHA conducted an inspection of the Ocala plant after an employee was electrocuted because of exposed live wires, and the two most recent OSHA citations against Royal Oak were issued in 1996 and 1997 for violations at the Branson, Missouri, plant for exposed live electrical wiring."

In addressing the "lockout" violations, Borders added, "Failure to lock out equipment during servicing can expose workers to injury, and even death, if the equipment is accidentally started. This company showed a general lack of concern for the welfare of its workers."

OSHA defines a serious violation as one where there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

A repeat violation occurs when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Other-than-serious violations do not have substantial probability of causing death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.

Inspections of the Ocala plant were conducted by OSHA's Jacksonville area office located at the Ribault Building, Room 227, 1851 Executive Center Dr., Jacksonville, Fla. 32207; telephone: (904) 232-2895.

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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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