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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Georgia post plant cited by OSHA for 22 violations plus penalties

Dupont Yard Inc. in Homerville runs a sawmill that makes posts for the construction of guardrails and for use on farms. During the last six years, they have had four Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety inspections and received 39 safety and health violations, according to an OSHA representative.

Now, another inspection has resulted in 22 new violations, as well as some proposed fines of just under $280,000. During this most recent inspection, three willful violations were discovered by inspectors. Dupont failed mainly at implementing safety procedures designed for prevention of the use and movement of any machinery when it is undergoing routine maintenance. Exposure to these machines without the necessary safety procedures could result in possible limb amputation of the worker, as well as potential fatal injuries. In addition, unguarded rotating chains on these machines could crush a worker, according to the OSHA assessment.

Those machinery problems, along with electrical hazards from Dupont's alleged negligence concerning electrical panels, were also cited as willful violations, which is described by OSHA as a violation that a company commits intentionally and with no consideration for workers' health and safety. OSHA proposed penalties in the amount of $171,600 for those three willful violations and another penalty of $30,030 for repeating the 2008 and 2011 violations. In addition, $77,700 in penalties was proposed related to another 17 serious violations.

OSHA gave this company a period of 15 business days to contest their health and safety findings or apply for a meeting with their area director. While no reports of injuries resulting from unsafe work conditions have been reported, an employee who suffers injury while on the job may be able to pursue workers' compensation benefits from the company.

Source: The Florida Times-Union, "OSHA cites Homerville post plant for 22 violations, proposes $279,400 fine", Terry Dickson, February 19, 2014

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