Sawmill Fatality Reveals Numerous OSHA Violations

St. Joseph, MO – Following a fatal workplace accident at a Missouri sawmill, OSHA has issued $199,183 in fines for 14 serious and two repeat safety violations at American Walnut Co.

The fatal workplace accident occurred on March 12 of 2018 when American Walnut employee Joshua Hill (38) came into contact with operating equipment. Hill reportedly fell into the chute of a grinder and was killed. OSHA found that Hill was not attached to a tether line when he fell 10 feet into the grinder chute.

Following the sawmill fatality, federal workplace safety investigators identified 14 serious and two repeat safety violations at American Walnut Co. including failure to evaluate job hazards, control hazardous energy, and ensure adequate machine guarding. Additionally, workers were found to have been exposed to hazards associated with falls, ladders, and electrical safety.

Noise hazards observed at American Walnut prompted a separate investigation. OSHA inspectors documented that American Walnut employees were exposed to hazards associated with noise, combustible dust, and chemicals within the St. Joseph (MO) facility.

OSHA’s Kansas City Area Office Director stated tsawmill fatalityhat “Employers must continually evaluate job hazards and ensure safety guards are in use to protect workers from known hazards in their facilities.”

The safety of American workers is always our driving motivation at Martin Technical. Anyone with questions about federal safety standards and/or workplace safety hazards should contact a member of our Industrial Safety Team. Martin Technical is a leading provider of practical safety services that make industrial plants and facilities better, safer, and more efficient. Our experts apply real-world solutions to create effective safety and health programs across this country and beyond.

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Combustible Dust and Other Hazards at GA Peanut Plant

combustible dustLeesburg, GA – Combustible dust is among the many hazards found in the last few years at Great Southern Peanut, LLC. The company was placed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program last fall for violations documented in 2014, 2016, and again in 2018.

In 2018, the peanut processing plant was issued penalties of $309,505 for serious and repeated workplace safety citations. OSHA inspectors documented failures to develop and implement procedures for confined space entry, provide training on confined space hazards, and also cited Great Southern Peanut for not keeping reduced compressed air to a required level. Additionally, they were found to be in violation of workplace record-keeping requirements.

The finding of one serious violation and one repeat violation at Great Southern Peanut in the fall of 2018, landed it on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. According to OSHA’s Savannah Area Office Director,  Great Southern Peanut “failed to adhere to the terms of a formal agreement to correct workplace hazards identified in a previous inspection, continuing to put employees at risk of serious injury.”

In 2016, the Georgia peanut producer was issued approximately $110,000 in fines for numerous repeated safety violations. OSHA’s 2016 inspection at Great Southern Peanut’s Leesburg (GA) facility was a follow up visit to check in the status of a series of citations identified in 2014. Federal workplace safety inspectors documented 13 repeated concerns, which included hazardous accumulations of combustible peanut dust as well as failure to provide protective guards on platforms and open-sided floors.

Their placement on the Severe Violators Enforcement list means that OSHA may inspect any Great Southern Peanut facility if it has reasonable grounds to believe that similar violations might be found. The severe violators program focuses on “recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.”

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