August 1, 2016
Employer name: Switchback Timber Inc., P.O. Box 977, Bradley, West Virginia
Inspection site: Dorothy Tract, RR 3, Dorothy, West Virginia
Citations issued: On July 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations for one willful, one repeat, 13 serious and three other-than-serious safety violations.
Investigation findings: OSHA initiated an inspection on April 5, 2016, after a complaint alleged multiple safety hazards at the worksite, and as part of the agency’s local emphasis program for logging, Switchback Timber did not have all onsite employees trained in first-aid and CPR training, resulting in the willful citation. The company was cited for this same violation in 2013.
The repeat citation involved a lack of proper protective footwear for employees operating chainsaws. The serious violations included the company’s failure to:
Provide leg and face protection.
Ensure workers wore hardhats when outside machine cabs.
Ensure employees used seatbelts while operating a bulldozer.
Fully enclose a bulldozer to prevent the operator from struck-by hazards.
Ensure machines made for only one operator did not have multiple passengers.
The company was also cited for not having onsite operator’s manual for a bulldozer, and not providing employee training and monthly health and safety meetings.
Quote: “CPR and first-aid training were critical in this case because Switchback Timber employees were working in a remote area as far as 10 miles from the nearest medical response area. With workers exposed to severe injuries and struck-by hazards, this training can mean the difference between life and death,” said Prentice Cline, OSHA’s area director in Charleston. “This company was well aware of OSHA safety requirements, but failed to comply, which is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Proposed penalties: $42,600
The citation can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/SwitchbackTimberInc_1137861.pdf
The logging industry has been recognized as one of the five most hazardous industries, based on injury rates in West Virginia, and has historically been a source of multiple fatalities. In West Virginia alone, there have been two deaths this fiscal year related to the logging industry. For more information on OSHA’s logging standards, visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/logging/index.html
The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Charleston Area Office at 304-347-5937.
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 conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.