Sawmill Ignored Hazards: OSHA

Friday, May 29, 2015 @ 03:05 PM gHale

A 29-year-old temporary worker suffered a severe injury at Cordele, GA, sawmill run by Griffin Lumber & Hardware and the company is now facing $56,000 in fines, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The worker’s left arm ended up amputated when he caught his jacket in the drive shaft of a conveyor belt in January.

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OSHA inspectors found workers at the Cordele-based business risked amputations and the dangers associated with unguarded sprocket wheels and chains on a conveyor belt.

The severely injured worker was an employee of Labor Finders, a staffing agency that provides Griffin Lumber with temporary workers. Griffin Lumber was responsible for daily supervision, training and direction of the temporary workers. OSHA concluded an inspection with Labor Finders and issued no citations to the staffing agency.

“Griffin management admitted to inspectors that the unguarded parts had been that way for a long time,” said Robert Vazzi, OSHA’s area director in Savannah. “This terrible incident proves the company can no longer ignore worker safety and must address all safety hazards immediately.”

Griffin Lumber received a willful violation from OSHA for failing to ensure workers ended up protected from an unguarded sprocket and chain. OSHA said the 74 full-time and temporary employees who work on-site were suffered exposure to serious injury or death due to this violation.

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