An inspection of wood crate manufacturer, North American Container Corp., found permanent and temporary employees faced excessive noise, improper hand protection and respiratory irritation due to wood dust exposure at its Adairsville, GA, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The company makes crates and corrugated boxes for lawn and garden products, such as all-terrain vehicles, tractors, lawn mowers and blowers. Headquartered in Marietta, GA, North American Container has eight other production facilities in Georgia, Wisconsin, Tennessee and South Carolina.

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After a complaint, OSHA began an inspection in October and found eight safety and health violations, with proposed penalties of $59,400.

“North American Container puts workers at risk of serious injury or illness by disregarding OSHA safety and health standards,” said Christi Griffin, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-West Area Office. “The repeated violations cited in this inspection show the employer’s lack of commitment to protect employees from workplace hazards.”

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OSHA issued four repeated citations to the container manufacturer for lacking an emergency action plan; failing to anchor a drill press to the floor securely; not providing employee training on the hazards of inhalation of wood dust, and failing to give workers the respirator standard. A repeated violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. North American Container received citations for these same violations in 2010 and 2014.

Four serious violations include equipping exit doors with sliding locks that could prohibit employees from leaving the facility quickly; not providing proper hand protection; failing to establish a noise testing program, and not training employees on the hazards of excessive noise levels.

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.

North American Container employs temporary workers through staffing agencies TRP Partners LLC, in Dalton, and Flexible Staffing, in Cartersville. North American provides training and oversight for its temporary employees, so OSHA did not cite the staffing agencies after this inspection.

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