NJ Lumber Co Fined $106,432 for Lockout Failures

Medford, NJ – DuBell Lumber has been issued $106,432 in OSHA penalties following a federal workplace safety investigation that revealed multiple failures to protect the health and safety of workers at its New Jersey facility.

DuBell Lumber was investigated in response to a complaint of workplace safety and health hazards. Federal safety inspectors identified failures to properly control combustible dust resulting from wood processing; failures to train employees on how to control the release of hazardous energy; failures in DuBell’s lockout/tagout procedures and program; and failing to install machine guards to protect employees from amputations.

Lockout, or lockout/tagout, procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment. These written procedures help to prevent the unexpected startup of machinery or equipment that may result in a worker injury.

lockout

Millions of American workers service equipment each day – these employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. It is estimated that compliance with the federal lockout/tagout standard prevents 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.

OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures. Training is done to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by employees.

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Worker Killed While Trying to Clear Machinery at ID Lumber Mill

Athol, ID – An accident is under investigation at the northern Idaho lumber mill where a worker died in an industrial accident last Friday. A 45-year-old man was fatally injured while trying to clear a broken piece of wood from a machine at the Merritt Brothers Lumber Company. Emergency workers were called to the mill just after 6a.m., and the employee was pronounced dead after being taken to a local hospital.

Lockout Tagout safety procedures are imperative in every industry, but the risk of amputation or death in workplace situations common to lumber and paper mills really highlights the importance of having a comprehensive lockout plan in place to prevent the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment during maintenclear machineryance activities.

OSHA requires that equipment specific lockout procedures be written for each piece of equipment. These lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, which helps to prevent the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

Lockout/Tagout procedures should be developed that outline how to isolate any prime movers, and machinery and equipment whose energy sources include mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, electrical, thermal or other. Lockout procedures are to be developed in compliance with OSHA CFR 29 1910.147 and with any state program requirements.

A written lockout/tagout policy (LOTO) is one of 5 key lockout program components required by OSHA and ANSI. The written lockout policy governs the lockout program for the company and provides references for implementing and following a successful  safety program. Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) and Hazardous Energy Control refers to the same standard of preventing unexpected start up or movement of equipment. The terms are used interchangably, although “Lockout” is more universally used in the United States as it is the term OSHA uses, while ANSI uses “Control of Hazardous Energy ” in their standard, which is used more often by non-US entities.

Violations of lockout-tagout (hazardous energy controls) are on OSHA’s Top 10 “Most Often Cited Violations” and Top 10 “Most Serious Violations” lists.  While many companies have general written policies, they are lacking the equipment specific procedures which provide workers with the specific steps to properly isolate energy sources.  Fines for lockout violations are based on each piece of equipment, and can add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The #1 most cited OSHA regulation for manufacturing is Lockout-Tagout (LOTO). LOTO fines from OSHA increased over 65% from 2010 to 2011.

Approximately 3 million American workers service equipment – these employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. In a study conducted by the UAW, 20% of the fatalities that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures specifically, lockout/tagout procedures.

Call a professional on our Safety and Compliance team today to discuss how Martin Technical can bring our expertise and experience to your facility. We genuinely care about people, and are dedicated to getting every one of your employees safely to the best part of their day: getting home!

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WI Lumber Operation Fined More Than $250K for Amputations

Marathon, WI – Menzner Lumber & Supply faces a $260,113 fine after an employee’s workplace injury triggered an OSHA investigation. Unfortunately, this was not the first incident of amputation at the Marathon (WI) facility.

In June of this year, a 24-year-old worker at suffered a partial amputation of his right middle finger while servicing a machine. Federal inspectors found that Menzner workers were not properly trained on how to isolate energy sources while setting up, servicing and performing maintenance on machines – processes and procedures known as Lockout/Tagout.

OSHA investigators found 14 safety violations, seven of which it classified as serious. Officials found electrical safety violations, lack of guarding on ladder wellslockout/tagout amputation to prevent falls, inadequate energy control procedures, and several machines lacking the proper safeguards.

Two amputations also occurred at Menzner Lumber & Supply in 2015: a machine severed a 25-year-old employee’s left middle finger in April 2015, and a 34-year-old worker lost the tip of his right thumb in January of 2015. According to OSHA, both accidents happened when the worker came in contact with operating machine parts.

Menzner Lumber & Supply manufactures hardwoods, veneers, moldings and other wood products and operates facilities in Kentucky, Mississippi and South Carolina. The company was founded in 1894 and employs about 300 people.

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Alabama Lumber Mill Cited for LOTO Safety Failures

Linden, AL – Linden Lumber has been cited for two repeated and seven serious safety, health, and LOTO violations. OSHA found that workers were exposed to falls and unguarded belts, pulleys and machinery, according to their Oct 13, 2015 report. The Alabama lumber mill faces fines totaling $43,116 for continually exposing workers to potentially deadly workplace safety hazards that could cause amputations, falls and other injuries.

“It’s disappointing when employers that have been previously cited for safety violations continue to expose workers to those same hazards,” said Joseph Roesler, director of OSHA’s Mobile Area Office. Linden Lumber was previously cited for similar violations at this facility in February.

OSHA opened the inspection after learning of a worker being hospitalized for a broken leg when an overloaded piece of machinery shot out a piece of lumber. This inspection that occurred in May fell under OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations..

Serious citations were also issued to the employer for failing to provide safety procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing; not providing protective eyewear to workers; and improper storage of compressed gas cylinders. Additionally, the employer exposed workers to falls and multiple electric shock hazards.

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Manke Lumber Fined for Repeat Violations After 2014 Worker Death

Tacoma, WA – Manke Lumber Company Inc., of Tacoma, has been fined by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for 25 serious and 11 general safety and health violations, totaling $87,120.

An investigation began in December of 2014, following the fatal injury of a worker at the facility. Jeffrey Busha died on the job at Manke Lumber when his clothing was caught by a rotating shaft that pulled him into a conveyor as he was trying to loosen jammed lumber. The fatal incident prompted L&I to do a comprehensive safety and health inspection of the entire worksite.

Manke Lumber was fined $6,600 for not safeguarding exposed shafts in four locations, including the conveyor where the worker died. The exposed shafts created the potential for workers to become entangled, which can cause severe injuries, permanent disability and death.repeat violations

The investigation also found a serious-repeat violation with a penalty of $8,400 for not ensuring that bench grinders were guarded to prevent severe injuries to the hand and face. The company had been previously cited for the violation in 2013.

Additionally, Manke Lumber was cited for serious violations for hazards related to “confined spaces.” Confined spaces are enclosed areas where employees are required to enter to perform maintenance and repair. Examples include hoppers, conveyors and dryers. Entering confined spaces may expose workers to the risk of suffocation, toxic atmospheres, engulfment, entrapment or other harm.

When a confined space has one or more hazardous characteristics that could harm workers, employers must control access to the area and use a permit system to prevent unauthorized entry. Anyone working in or around a permit-required confined space must be trained and there must be safety measures and rescue procedures in place.

The employer was cited for 12 violations for confined space hazards and fined $14,400.

Additional penalties totaling $57,720 were assessed for violations that included failing to guard moving parts on belt sanders, bandsaws, sprocket wheels, and pulleys; exposing workers to falls into unprotected holes and openings in the floor and open-sided elevated areas up to 10 feet; electrical hazards; failing to remove worn and damaged web slings from service; and not storing wood dust properly to prevent fire and/or explosion hazards.

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