U.S. Department of Labor Cites Wisconsin Lumber Mill for Exposing Employees to Machine and Other Hazards Following Fatality
ARBOR VITAE, WI ‒ The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Pukall Lumber Company Inc. – a lumber mill in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin – for exposing employees to multiple safety hazards following a worker fatality. The company faces penalties of $348,467.
An employee suffered fatal injuries when caught in an outdoor bark conveyor belt in January 2019. OSHA cited Pukall Lumber for two willful violations for failing to implement energy control procedures, and ensure the conveyer had adequate guarding to prevent employees from coming in contact with the moving parts. OSHA also cited the company for 13 serious violations for exposing employees to falls, electrical safety, welding, and woodworking hazards; and failing to install machine guarding, implement lockout/tagout, label containers with product identifiers and appropriate warnings, and properly store oxygen and fuel tanks. OSHA has placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
“Tragedies such as this are preventable when employers comply with safety standards that exist to protect employees from workplace hazards,” said OSHA Area Director Robert J. Bonack, in Appleton, Wisconsin. “Employers must continually evaluate their facilities for hazards, and ensure supervisors properly train employees on the correct use of safety controls and equipment to prevent injuries and fatalities on the job.”
OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on hazard communication, machine guarding, fall protection, control of hazardous energy, woodworking, welding, and electrical safety related work practices.
Pukall Lumber Company manufactures solid wood flooring and paneling, wood sidings, moldings, and log home packages under the “Woods of Woodruff” trade name and also operates a retail store in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, and a home design center in Woodruff, Wisconsin.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and 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 help 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.