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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently proposed penalties of $199,183 to American Walnut Co. for two repeated and 14 serious safety violations. OSHA initiated an inspection of the sawmill in St. Joseph, Missouri, after an employee suffered fatal injuries when he fell into a machine on March 12, 2018.
OSHA's safety investigation of the incident found the company failed to evaluate job hazards, control hazardous energy and ensure machines were equipped with adequate guards. The investigation also found the company exposed workers to hazards associated with falls, ladders and electrical safety.
Observed noise hazards prompted a subsequent health inspection in April 2018 that found the company exposed workers to hazards associated with combustible dust, noise and the use of chemicals in the facility.
"Employers must continually evaluate job hazards and ensure safety guards are in use to protect workers from known hazards in their facilities," said Karena Lorek, OSHA's Kansas City area office director. "Employers and workers with questions on OSHA standards can contact OSHA for guidance on creating an effective safety and health program."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
For more information, visit www.osha.gov.