In an effort to strongly enforce workplace safety rules, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited Nix Forest Industries Inc. in Timpson, Texas, with 17 safety and health violations, including one willful, after a worker was killed in December 2012 when he was struck by a broken band saw blade and other workers were exposed to hazards at the sawmill.
The willful violation resulted from failing to use control procedures for hazardous energy when cleaning, removing debris and un-jamming equipment and machinery. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Some of the 14 serious safety violations cited include failing to provide easily understood lockout/tagout training for energy control, failing to certify that energy control training was completed and current and failing to ensure that tagout devices were affixed to clearly indicate the operation or movement of the energy isolating device.
Violations were also cited for failing to guard machines, ensure that pulleys with parts less than 7 feet from the floor were guarded, ensure that entry point warning signs were posted at possible low carriage areas, ensure bandsaw wheels were completely enclosed or guarded, and ensure flexible cords and cables were not used as substitutes for fixed wiring. One health violation was cited for failing to administer an effective hearing conservation program for workers exposed to occupational noise. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
OSHA: Employer Failed to Protect Workers
An other-than-serious violation was cited for failing to ensure that an OSHA 300A injury and illness form was properly certified. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
“Nix Forest Industries failed to take adequate measures to protect workers from a variety of hazards, including being struck-by and caught-between machinery and equipment,” commented Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s area director in Dallas. “Following OSHA standards saves lives. This unfortunate loss of life could possibly have been avoided.”
So, what is your business doing to make sure all workers are safe day in and day out on the job?
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
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