Wisconsin Lumber Company Faces Nearly $350,000 in Penalties, Labeled Severe Violator

After a worker was caught in an outdoor bark conveyor belt and suffered fatal injuries, OSHA cited Pukall Lumber Company Inc. for two willful violations and 13 serious violations. The company is now in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Pukall Lumber Company Inc. — a lumber mill in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin — faces $348,467 in penalties for exposing employees to multiple safety hazards following a worker fatality.

In January 2019, an employee was caught in an outdoor bark conveyor belt and killed. OSHA cited the company for two willful violations for failing to implement energy control procedures, and ensure the conveyer had adequate guarding to prevent employees from coming in contact with the moving parts. OSHA also cited the company for 13 serious violations for exposing employees to falls, electrical safety, welding, and woodworking hazards; and failing to install machine guarding, implement lockout/tagout, label containers with product identifiers and appropriate warnings, and properly store oxygen and fuel tanks. Pukall Lumber is now in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Tragedies such as this are preventable when employers comply with safety standards that exist to protect employees from workplace hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Robert J. Bonack, in Appleton, Wisconsin. “Employers must continually evaluate their facilities for hazards, and ensure supervisors properly train employees on the correct use of safety controls and equipment to prevent injuries and fatalities on the job.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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