Miller Lumber cited following death or worker

Published 1:40 pm Thursday, July 9, 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Thursday that Selma manufacturer Miller Lumber Company had been cited for “failing to protect employees from struck-by hazards” following an incident earlier this year that resulted in the death of an employee.

In January, the Selma Police Department (SPD) confirmed that a man was killed following a morning accident at the local lumber and flooring manufacturer’s headquarters on Hopper Drive on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

According to SPD Chief Kenta Fulford at the time, the department’s Criminal Investigation Division responded to the scene – upon determining that the incident was accidental, the investigation was turned over to OSHA.

According to Thursday’s press release, the employee was fatally struck by a piece of wood while attempting to clear a jammed machine.

The company was cited by OSHA for failing to lockout equipment prior to maintenance, for failing to ensure that machines were properly guarded and for failing to train employees on lockout/tagout procedures.

According to the press release, the local company had developed an alternative energy control procedure for clearing equipment jams after an employee suffered an amputation in 2018, but never implemented the new procedure.

Miller Lumber was slapped with more than $218,000 in penalties – the company has 15 days to respond to the citations and proposed penalties and get in compliance with agency mandates – the company can request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before a review commission.

“Employers are required to identify safety hazards, implement safety measures and train workers on the proper use of safety equipment,” said OSHA Mobile Area Director Jose Gonzalez. “Tragedies such as this can be prevented if employers comply with workplace standards, as required by law.”

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 ensure these environments exist by setting and enforcing standards, providing training and more.