OSHA Proposes $293,000 In Penalties Against Phenix Lumber Company

Mobile, AL (CompNewsNetwork) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing $293,700 in penalties for 36 safety and health violations found at Phenix Lumber Co. in Phenix City, Ala.

The total proposed penalties include $202,500 for four safety citations and one health citation resulting from the company's failure to correct violations identified during a previous OSHA inspection. Those citations include the company's failure to obtain audiograms for employees exposed to noise hazards, not implementing specific lockout/tagout procedures to prevent accidental start-up of machinery and three instances where machine guards had not been installed in a timely manner.

In addition, OSHA is proposing $23,100 in penalties for one repeat and seven serious health violations; and $68,100 for 17 serious, five repeat and one other-than-serious safety violations. The health violations relate to poor housekeeping of combustible dust, lack of safety signs, lack of safety equipment, and using incorrect electrical and forklift equipment. The safety violations include unguarded machinery and pit openings, not utilizing lockout/tagout procedures, dangers to employees from unstable piles of lumber, lack of signage and improper use of electrical equipment.

"These financial penalties are the direct result of the company's failure to correct violations found in 2007," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's area director in Mobile. "Even when OSHA staff pointed out problems during previous inspections and management agreed to correct them, the company did not follow through on its obligations."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Mobile or contest the proposed citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.

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