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Pukall Lumber Company Inc. – a lumber mill in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin – is facing $348,467 in fines for exposing employees to multiple safety hazards following a worker fatality, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

An employee suffered fatal injuries when caught in an outdoor bark conveyor belt in January this year.

Investigators cited Pukall Lumber for two willful violations for failing to implement energy control procedures, and ensuring the conveyer had adequate guarding to prevent employees from coming in contact with the moving parts.

OSHA also cited the company for 13 serious violations for exposing employees to falls, electrical safety, welding, and woodworking hazards; and failing to install machine guarding, implement lockout/tagout, label containers with product identifiers and appropriate warnings, and properly store oxygen and fuel tanks.

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OSHA placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Tragedies such as this are preventable when employers comply with safety standards that exist to protect employees from workplace hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Robert J. Bonack, in Appleton, Wisconsin. “Employers must continually evaluate their facilities for hazards, and ensure supervisors properly train employees on the correct use of safety controls and equipment to prevent injuries and fatalities on the job.”

OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on hazard communication, machine guarding, fall protection, control of hazardous energy, woodworking, welding, and electrical safety related work practices.

Pukall Lumber Company manufactures solid wood flooring and paneling, wood sidings, moldings, and log home packages under the “Woods of Woodruff” trade name and also operates a retail store in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, and a home design center in Woodruff, Wisconsin.

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