An OSHA inspection of a Ray Clearing Inc. worksite found that employees were using chainsaws to fell 12-inch diameter trees without the proper protection--chaps, heavy duty logging boots, eye protection and face protection. They also lacked the head protection necessary for working in woods, where there is a potential for being struck by falling limbs.
The agency inspected the Bickmore, West Virginia-based logging company earlier this month under its local emphasis program focused on logging and issued citations for 22 serious and one other-than-serious violation.
Serious violations include employees exposed to falls and crushing injuries when permitted to ride as passengers on mobile vehicles without an assigned seat and seat belt, and a chainsaw that was operated with a broken chain catch which exposed employees to a struck-by hazard involving a broken or dislodged chain.
The logging industry has been recognized as one of the five most hazardous industries, based on injury rates, and has historically been the source of multiple fatalities in West Virginia. In 2013, 10 percent of all occupational fatalities in West Virginia occurred in logging.
Proposed penalties: $35,200
"Logging is an inherently dangerous industry, and when the necessary safeguards are not utilized, workers are left vulnerable to hazards that can result in serious injuries and possibly death," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Office.
Ray Clearing Inc.'s workers' compensation insurer is Brickstreet, located in Charleston, West Virginia.