OSHA has cited Best Logging, a company based in Ripley, West Virginia for 14 alleged serious and four other-than-serious violations – including tree felling hazards – found at a Rock Castle work site. OSHA's February inspection was initiated following the fatality of a worker, who was struck by a tree during logging operations.
The serious violations were due to the company's failure to ensure employees wore leg protection, heavy duty cut-resistant boots, and head, eye and face protection while operating a chain saw and performing logging operations; ensure employees were within visual or audible contact with each other at all times; provide first aid kits with all required items on each piece of equipment or at the cutting area; train employees in first aid/CPR; provide training to employees involved in logging operations; consider the location of surrounding trees prior to felling a tree; properly fell and remove a danger tree; fell trees with a sufficient hinge; and maintain fire extinguishers on each machine.
The other-than-serious violations include failing to develop and implement a written Hazard Communication Program, maintain Material Safety Data Sheets, identify container of diesel fuel with labeling, and provide employees with training on hazardous materials in the work area.
"By many measures, logging is the most dangerous occupation in the United States and is considered a high-hazard industry by OSHA. In West Virginia alone, there have already been five fatalities this year, all involving improper felling of trees," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Area Office in Charleston. "Employers, such as Best Logging, that put employees' lives in danger by not complying with federal logging safety laws will continue to be held legally responsible."
For more information on OSHA's standards for logging, visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/logging/.
Best Logging faces $39,000 in proposed penalties.