SILVER CREEK, Miss. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the Joe N. Miles & Sons Inc. sawmill in Silver Creek with 19 safety violations. Proposed penalties total $67,800.
OSHA began its inspection in October 2010 as part of a national emphasis program on combustible dust in the workplace. The citations include one willful violation carrying a $44,000 penalty for allowing an electrical junction box to be left open in an area where combustible dust accumulates, exposing workers to fire and electrocution. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
The company also was cited with 16 serious violations and a penalty of $23,800. The violations include a dangerous accumulation of combustible dust; unsafe exit routes; improper dispensing of flammable liquids; failing to inspect lockout/tagout procedures of energy sources; failing to recharge fire extinguishers; lack of signage prohibiting foot and vehicle traffic in the log unloading and storage area; handling corrosive chemicals without required eyewash and safety showers; using damaged hooks on hoists to lift loads; using damaged welding cables; failing to have guardrails on elevated walkways; and failing to provide machine guarding. A serious citation is issued 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.
Two other-than-serious violations with no penalty were issued for failing to provide warnings or labels on hazardous chemicals. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"Combustible dust is dangerous, but OSHA's standards provide safeguards that this employer needs to implement," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson.
The sawmill has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Jackson Area Office, 3780 Interstate 55 N., Suite 210, Jackson, Miss. 39211; telephone 601-965-4606. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.