US Department of Labor proposes $204K in fines after worker suffers amputation at Arkansas wood flooring plant
MONTICELLO, AR – A knot saw operator suffered a partial amputation of an index finger in June 2021 when his hand came in contact with a rotating blade that lacked adequate machine guarding. A few weeks earlier, a similar saw at the Maxwell Hardwood Flooring plant in Monticello lacerated a co-worker’s palm severely, leaving them with nerve damage.
An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the flooring manufacturer failed to record the laceration on the company’s OSHA 300 log, as the law requires.
OSHA cited the company for one willful violation, three serious and two other-than-serious violations for five unguarded circular saws in use, lack of safe access and egress to and from walking-working surfaces, obstructed exit routes and a lack of a stair-rail system and handrails. OSHA proposed $204,797 in penalties.
“Maxwell Hardwood Flooring’s disregard for the safety of its workers has left two people with serious injuries,” said OSHA Area Director Kia E. McCullough in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. Employers must comply with safety requirements to ensure workers return home each day safely. When an employer fails to fulfill its obligation, OSHA will hold them accountable.”
Exposure to amputation hazards is one of the top 10 most frequently cited violations. OSHA’s Machine Guarding webpage provides compliance assistance resources to help employers identify amputation hazards, and follow required procedures to properly guard stationary and portable machines.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.