AUGUSTA, Maine – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited sawmill NC Hunt Inc. for three alleged repeat violations and seven serious violations of workplace safety standards. The facility in Jefferson faces a total of $79,310 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA's Augusta office begun in December 2012.
The repeat violations include not using energy control procedures to prevent employees from being struck by a logging carriage and for a lack of barriers and warning signage to prevent entry to the logging carriage path and elevated walkways that lacked required guardrails. Similar violations were cited in 2009. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Proposed penalties for the repeat violations total $53,900.
"These recurring hazards exposed employees to the hazards of falls and being struck by machinery. It's imperative that employers take effective and ongoing action to ensure that hazards, once corrected, remain corrected," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine.
The serious violations include using an industrial work truck with a defective emergency brake, lack of machine guarding to prevent employee contact with the moving parts of a saw and a grinder, an ungrounded extension cord and incomplete energy control procedures. 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. Proposed penalties for the serious violations total $25,410.
More information about hazards and working safely in sawmills is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/sawmills/index.html.
NC Hunt Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Augusta office at 207-626-9160.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Source: Department of Labor
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