By Robert Dalheim

MOULTRIE, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Southern Wood Components LLC for exposing employees to hazardous energy and caught-by hazards after an employee fatality at the company’s sawmill. The wood product manufacturer faces $55,326 in penalties. Employees found co-worker Sammie Tray Roberts dead early morning January 8 after he tried fixing a conveyor belt. It appeared his clothes had become caught in the shaft. OSHA cited the company for failing to ensure 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. 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. “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. Southern Wood provides packaging components, customized pallets, cut-to-size lumber, truss components, and more. 

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