A Graham Lumber Co. employee was killed after he became entangled in a conveyor belt at the company's lumber mill in Fulton. The worker, employed at the company for less than two weeks, was cleaning up sawdust and bark around an unguarded conveyor when the entanglement occurred. OSHA has cited Graham Lumber for one willful and one serious safety violation following the April 2014 fatality.
"This tragic incident could have been prevented if the employer ensured that the safety guard, which had been removed, was replaced immediately. This illustrates how important it is for a company to maintain safeguards even during nonproduction work activity because it directly affects the health and safety of all workers," said Eugene Stewart, director of OSHA's Jackson Area Office.
The willful citation was issued for the employer's failure to ensure machine conveyor belts, sprocket chains and rollers were guarded to prevent employees from becoming caught in them.
OSHA issued the serious citation for failure to provide a safety guard on a rotating shaft end on a sawdust collector conveyor belt, which exposed workers to caught-in and amputation hazards.
Employee electrocuted at facility in 2011
This facility was previously inspected by OSHA in 2011 after an employee was electrocuted, and 15 citations for safety violations were issued. Additionally, the Selma, Tennessee, and the Fulton facilities experienced fatalities in 2014 within 90 days of each other. Both incidents were related to workers becoming entangled in unguarded machinery.
Graham Lumber, a subsidiary of American Hardwood Industries, has headquarters in Waynesboro, Virginia, and produces hardwood lumber for the flooring industry. The company employs approximately 26 workers at the Fulton mill and 400 employees nationwide.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, fatal work injuries in Mississippi accounted for 64 of the 4,405 fatal work* injuries reported nationally in 2013. Additional details are available at www.bls.gov.