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After a worker died in December when he was hit by a broken band saw blade, Nix Forest Industries Inc. in Timpson, TX, is facing $116,200 in fines for 17 safety and health violations, including one willful, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The company specializes in cutting lumber to size for its customers. The willful violation resulted from failing to use control procedures for hazardous energy when cleaning, removing debris and unjamming equipment and machinery. 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.

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Some of the 14 serious safety violations cited include failing to provide easily understood lockout/tagout training for energy control, failing to certify that energy control training was completed and current and failing to ensure tagout devices were affixed to clearly indicate the operation or movement of the energy isolating device. Violations were also cited for failing to guard machines, ensure that pulleys with parts less than 7 feet from the floor were guarded, ensure entry point warning signs were posted at possible low carriage areas, ensure band saw wheels were completely enclosed or guarded, and ensure flexible cords and cables were not used as substitutes for fixed wiring.

One health violation was for failing to administer an effective hearing conservation program for workers exposed to occupational noise. 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.

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An other-than-serious violation was for failing to ensure that an OSHA 300A injury and illness form received proper certification. 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.

“Nix Forest Industries failed to take adequate measures to protect workers from a variety of hazards, including being struck-by and caught-between machinery and equipment,” said Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s area director in Dallas. “Following OSHA standards saves lives. This unfortunate loss of life could possibly have been avoided.”

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