September 13, 2018
ST. JOSEPH, MO – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties of $199,183 to American Walnut Company LLC for two repeated and 14 serious safety violations. OSHA initiated an inspection of the St. Joseph sawmill after an employee suffered fatal injuries when he fell into a machine.
OSHA’s safety investigation of the March 12, 2018, incident found the company failed to evaluate job hazards, control hazardous energy, and ensure machines were equipped with adequate guards. The investigation also found the company exposed workers to hazards associated with falls, ladders and electrical safety.
“Employers must continually evaluate job hazards and ensure safety guards are in use to protect workers from known hazards in their facilities,” said OSHA Kansas City Area Office Director Karena Lorek. “Employers and workers with questions on OSHA standards can contact OSHA for guidance on creating an effective safety and health program.”
Observed noise hazards prompted a subsequent health inspection in April 2018 that found the company exposed workers to hazards associated with combustible dust, noise and the use of chemicals in the facility.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA 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.