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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Foreman Being Sued for Inmate’s Head Injury

Pueblo, CO – After suffering a severe head injury during her time in a prison-work program, former Colorado inmate Kandy Fuelling is suing Pueblo Wood Products and the supervisor who allegedly had assured her that the saw was turned off.

When lumber got jammed on a conveyor belt at the Pueblo sawmill where she’d been working through a prison-work program, Fuelling obeyed the prodding of her foreman and fellow inmates. She climbed below the conveyor belt and reached toward the wood. Fellow inmates and on-site supervisors assured her that they had turned the saw off and it was safe to yank the lumber from under the conveyor belt.

According to documents filed at the U.S. District Court in Denver, “upon dislodging the wood, and without warning, a saw came straight at Ms. Fuelling’s head, slicing through her helmet (and scalp, causing her to bleed profusely). Ms. Fuelling foreman suedscreamed as loud as she could, but her voice was muffled by the noise of the saw.”

Fuelling, 48, is also suing the Colorado Department of Corrections and several of it’s employees, including those who drove her back to La Vista Correctional Facility instead of taking her to a hospital. The lawsuit says the still-bleeding and screaming woman should have been rushed immediately to a hospital emergency room. Once she was seen at a nearby hospital, Fuelling had a 4- to 5-inch scalp laceration and received 15 stitches.

 

At the time of the accident, Fuelling was serving prison time for escape and being an habitual traffic offender. Fuelling has since been released from prison and placed in community corrections.

The lawsuit alleges that “corners were cut and on-the-job-safety training took a back seat to profit margins earned by Pueblo Wood, CCI and DOC.” Lawyers claim that Fuelling’s safety training consisted of receiving four pages of tips including advice for how to avoid avoid back injuries and getting cuts from sharp objects.

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