Wayne Lumber and Mulch Inc. is facing $85,080 in fines for continuing to expose employees to willful, repeat and serious safety and health hazards at the company’s sawmill in Wayne, WV, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Wayne Lumber and Mulch processes logs for material used in coal mines and employs 14 workers at its Wayne sawmill.
The penalties come following two investigations. One was a planned safety inspection in March as part of the agency’s National Emphasis Program on Amputations. During this inspection, investigators noted high noise levels in the mill and made a referral for a second health inspection, which OSHA conducted in July.
“This company violates safety and health standards and put its employees at risk of serious injuries and hearing loss over and over again. OSHA will not tolerate this type of blatant disregard for worker safety,” said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA’s Charleston Area Office. “Employers like Wayne Lumber and Mulch will be held legally accountable when they fail to provide a safe and healthy workplace.”
Two willful violations, with a $17,600 penalty, were for failing to check fire extinguishers annually and not maintaining them for emergencies. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Six repeat violations ended up cited, including additional violations for failing to inspect fire extinguishers regularly. The company did not have a collection system to remove combustible sawdust and shavings from work areas, and they did not maintain floors properly. Another violation was for an elevated mill platform not equipped with a stairway. Other violations were for the company’s failure to develop and implement a hazard communication program and train employees on hazardous materials in the workplace. These violations carried a $21,120 penalty. The company faced previous citations in 2011 for similar violations. A repeat violation releases when an employer previously faced the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The company also faces 31 serious violations, with a $45,920 penalty, related to noise, electrical, fall, egress and amputation hazards, and the failure to guard equipment properly; provide personal protective equipment; establish an energy control program for performing service and maintenance on equipment; and train and evaluate workers on operating powered industrial trucks.
Among the serious violations, OSHA cited the company for a violation of the agency’s general duty clause for drop starting a chainsaw. 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.
Five additional safety and health violations included one for failing to maintain the OSHA Form 300, which logs all work-related injuries and illnesses. This carried a $440 penalty.