CORDELE, GA – OSHA says a temporary sawmill worker at Griffin Lumber & Hardware in Cordele, GA, might not have lost an arm if machine guards had been in place. The agency gave Griffin Lumber a willful violation notice and proposed a $56,000 fine for ignoring dangerous conditions. Griffin Lumber operates a sawmill and three stores in southern Georgia. 

The 29-year-old temporary worker's left arm was amputated when his jacket was caught in the drive shaft of a conveyor belt in January 2015.

U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found that workers at the Cordele-based business risked amputations and the dangers associated with unguarded sprocket wheels and chains on a conveyor belt.

The severely injured worker was employed by Labor Finders, a staffing agency that provides Griffin Lumber with temporary workers. Griffin Lumber was responsible for daily supervision, training and direction of the temporary workers. OSHA issued no citations to the staffing agency after its investigation.

"Griffin management admitted to inspectors that the unguarded parts had been that way for a long time," said Robert Vazzi, OSHA's area director in Savannah. 

Griffin Lumber received a willful violation from OSHA for failing to ensure workers were protected from the unguarded sprocket and chain, and OSHA alleges that the 74 full-time and temporary employees who work on-site were exposed to serious injury or death due to this violation. OSHA proposed penalty of $56,000.

Since 2013, Griffin Lumber has been inspected three times and received citations for unsafe forklift usage, unguarded machinery and other workplace hazards, OSHA said.


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