FULTON, MS – A Graham Lumber Co. employee cleaning up bark and sawdust around a conveoyr was killed after he became entangled in a conveyor belt at the company's lumber mill in Fulton, MS.
The incident, which took place in April, was reported by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration at its website last week when it announced the citation. Proposed penalties total $75,610.
The worker had been employed at the mill, a unit of American Hardwood Industries, for less than two weeks. Following the incident OSHA cited Graham Lumber for one willful and one serious safety violation. OSHA says a safety guard had been removed from the conveyor.
Eugene Stewart, director of OSHA's Jackson Area Office, said the citation was issued for the employer's failure to ensure machine conveyor belts, sprocket chains and rollers were guarded to prevent employees from becoming caught in them.
The safety guard was supposed to cover a rotating shaft end on a sawdust collector conveyor belt, which OSHA says exposed workers to being caught-in and to amputation hazards. In 2011 OSHA inspected the plant following the death of a worker who was electrocuted at the sawmill while troubleshooting a malfunctioning starter inside a motor power control center. A Selma, TN plant also experienced a fatality this year after another worker became entangled in unguarded machinery.
Parent American Hardwood Industries, headquartered in Waynesboro, VA produces hardwood lumber for the flooring industry, employing 26 at the Fulton mill and 400 nationwide.
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