Worker Death Leads to Safety Fines

Friday, November 15, 2013 @ 06:11 PM gHale

White Cedar Shingles Inc. is facing $156,240 in fines for nine safety violations after a worker died May 21 at the Superior, WI, manufacturing facility while servicing machinery not locked out to prevent unexpected startup, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

As a result of the inspection, OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).

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“This was a terrible, preventable tragedy that underscores the importance of following OSHA’s standards to control hazardous energy by training workers on affixing machine lockout devices,” said Mark Hysell, OSHA’s area director in Eau Claire. “White Cedar Shingles was cited for the same deficiency in 2012, and that underscores its failure to act. Employers must identify and correct hazards and ensure workers follow proper procedures to prevent injury or death.”

Two willful violations were for failing to train workers authorized to perform servicing on equipment in hazardous energy control procedures and to control electrical energy sources by installing lockout/tagout devices during maintenance and cleaning of machinery. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for, or plain indifference to, employee safety and health.

Five serious violations involve failing to have guarding on power transmission flywheels and the power transmission belt on the edger; address a waste conveyer belt with visible damage on the belt edge; train and evaluate forklift operators; address a damaged electrical control button on the mill; identify disconnecting means for a mill and saw equipment; close unused openings on boxes, cabinets and fittings effectively; and install faceplates and covers on electrical boxes.

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.

Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to install a midrail on a stairway and on a platform in the material area. 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.

The Severe Violator Enforcement Program mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA’s SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

White Cedar Shingles Inc. is a milling company that manufactures cedar shingles and boards. It employs 10 workers. Inspections of the facility in 2010, 2011 and 2012 led to 10 violations, which include citations from 2012 for the lack of a lockout/tagout program and workers’ training on the control of hazardous energy.



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