ARBOR VITAE, Wis. ‒  Pukall Lumber Co. has been cited for exposing employees to multiple safety hazards following a worker fatality. The Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin-based company faces penalties of $348,467 and has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Pukall Lumber for two willful violations for failing to implement energy control procedures, and ensure the outdoor debarker conveyer had adequate guarding to prevent employees from coming in contact with the moving parts. Joshua Drinkman, 30, of Eagle River, Wisconsin, suffered fatal injuries when caught in a conveyor belt on Jan. 29.

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.

“Tragedies such as this are preventable when employers comply with safety standards that exist to protect employees from workplace hazards,” said Robert J. Bonack, OSHA Area Director 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.”

Pukall Lumber 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.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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