Sawmill Fatality Brings Safety Fines

Monday, October 24, 2016 @ 09:10 AM gHale

Charlie Cummins Jr., a saw operator with more than 20 years with Hankins Lumber Co., was attempting to adjust a pin stuck in the up position on an infeed table of a gang saw this past May.

That is when an unguarded sprocket on a rotating shaft entangled his clothes, leaving him pinned against the equipment and unable to breathe. Cummins then lost consciousness. Taken to a local hospital after others freed him, the 56-year-old man later died of his injuries.

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The sawmill manufactures kiln dried yellow pine lumber and employs 200 workers.

Grenada, MS-based Hankins Lumber is now facing $80,937 in fines for 15 safety violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA investigators found Hankins Lumber failed to ensure proper machine guards and emergency shut-off procedures were in place. The agency issued 12 serious and three other-than-serious safety and health violations to Hankins Lumber.

“Had Hankins Lumber met its responsibilities to protect its workers, Charlie Cummins would not have died needlessly,” said Eugene Stewart, OSHA’s area director in the Jackson Office. “Every employer must ensure equipment is guarded and safety procedures are operational in the event of an emergency.”

OSHA issued the serious citations to the employer for its failure to:
• Utilize safety procedures to turn off equipment in an emergency
• Close unused openings in electrical cabinets
• Provide machine guarding on shafts, pulleys and belts
• Provide confined space training
• Provide standard railings on open sided floors and platforms
• Provide a safety latch on the hoist hook

Other violations include no hazard assessment certification, not posting confined space signs by the boiler and failing to have a written hazard communication program.

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