Georgia Lumber Firm Nailed for Chain Saw, Machine Guarding Hazards

Charles Greer Lumber Co. has been cited by OSHA for 18 safety and health violations following an April inspection of the company's plant in Suwanee, Ga. Penalties total $87,780.

Wooden pallet manufacturer Charles Greer Lumber Co. has been cited by OSHA for 18 safety and health violations following an April inspection of the company's plant in Suwanee, Ga. Penalties total $87,780.

Five repeat safety violations with $47,520 in fines involve failing to install machine guards on the pulley system, enclose sprocket wheels and chains, provide barriers to prevent employees from entering the space where logs are moved, ensure that electrical boxes had covers, and conduct an annual maintenance inspection of fire extinguishers. Additionally, one repeat health violation with a $6,600 fine was cited for failing to establish a program to test the hearing of workers exposed to loud noises. The company was cited for similar safety violations in 2009 and for a similar health violation in 2008.

Eleven serious safety violations with $33,660 in fines involve failing to develop lockout/tagout procedures for when employees conduct servicing and maintenance on equipment to prevent accidental startup, provide locks or suitable hardware for the lockout/tagout process, install machine guards on band saws, provide employees using chain saws with leg protection, properly light exit signs, and ensure fire extinguishers were readily available and visually inspected each month. The violations also include several electrical hazards, such as damaged equipment, exposed live parts, uncovered openings in cabinets and boxes, flexible cords spliced together, and a lack of strain relief for cords.

One other-than-serious safety violation with no monetary penalty was cited for failing to certify that employees were trained in procedures to lock out/tag out the energy sources of equipment.

"Management must take a proactive approach to recognizing and eliminating workplace hazards that jeopardize the safety and health of employees," said William Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office.

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