OSHA Nails Lumber Company for LOTO, Recordkeeping Violations

Proposed penalties total $159,700. OSHA began its inspection in December 2010 as part of its national emphasis program to prevent workplace amputations.

OSHA has cited Thomasville Lumber Co. for 24 alleged safety and record keeping violations at its plant in Thomasville, Ala. Proposed penalties total $159,700. OSHA began its inspection in December 2010 as part of its national emphasis program to prevent workplace amputations.

The company received citations for five willful violations. One, carrying a $70,000 proposed fine (the maximum allowed by law), is for not requiring that lockout or tagout of equipment be performed only by authorized employees performing servicing or maintenance to prevent unintentional startup that can lead to injury or death. The other four relate to the company's failure to maintain complete and accurate entries in its OSHA log between 2007 and 2010. OSHA proposed a $10,000 penalty for each of the four years, totaling $40,000.

Citations for 13 serious violations relate to the company's allowing employees to perform service or maintenance on equipment without first locking it out to prevent unintentional startup, not providing locks to employees, three instances where machine guards were missing, using a platform that did not have a standard railing, allowing employees to use improperly installed stairs, using stairs that lacked a standard handrail, allowing employees to access electrical boxes with unused openings that were not effectively closed and without a cover, and using flexible electrical cords that were not approved for wet locations. Additionally, training for forklift operators did not include information available in the operator's manual, employees operated a forklift with a non-operating horn, and the forklift operator's visibility was impaired by a plastic tarp used during rain storms. Penalties total $48,300.

Two $700 penalties were issued for other-than-serious instances when the company's OSHA log failed to include a detailed description of an incident. Citations for four separate other-than-serious violations were issued with no monetary penalties for not guarding a live electrical hazard of more than 50 volts, not protecting electrical conductors from abrasion, not posting the load capacity in a forklift cab, and using flexible cords as a substitute for fixed wiring.

"Employers must provide their employees with safe workplaces and be committed to their safety. OSHA will not hesitate to impose significant penalties when it finds that workers are being endangered on the job, and when employers intentionally disregard their responsibility to completely and accurately maintain injury logs that can help them identify problem areas," said Cindy Coe, OSHA regional administrator.

Thomasville Lumber Co. specializes in the processing of yellow pine products from logs.

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