MOULTRIE, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Southern Wood Components LLC – based in Moultrie, Georgia – for exposing employees to hazardous energy and caught-by hazards after an employee fatality at the company’s saw mill. The wood product manufacturer faces $55,326 in penalties.

An employee suffered a fatal injury when his clothing became caught on the shaft of a conveyor Jan. 8, according to an OSHA press release and news coverage from the time of the accident. 

OSHA cited the company for failing to ensure that energy control procedures contained specific steps to limit the release of hazardous energy, provide lockout/tagout devices for machines and equipment, and train employees to recognize hazardous energy sources, according to a press release OSHA sent out Friday. OSHA also cited the company for allowing employees to operate powered industrial trucks without training and for failing to conduct an inspection of the lockout program at least annually, provide appropriate machine guarding and reduce compressed air to a safe level before allowing employees to use it for cleaning.

OSHA conducted the inspection as part of the National Emphasis Program on Amputations and the Regional Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Trucks.

“Workers who perform service and maintenance on machines and equipment must be trained on how to lockout and disable machinery to prevent unintentional startup,” said OSHA Savannah Area Office Director Margo Westmoreland. “Fatalities can be prevented if employers comply with OSHA standards, as required by law.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed 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

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 https://www.osha.gov.

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