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OSHA: Riceboro lumber mill repeatedly exposes workers to hazards
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Read OSHA's press release here.

Read OSHA's citation here.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Interstate Resources Inc., doing business as RB Lumber LLC, for repeat safety violations.

RB Lumber is on Interstate Paper Road in Riceboro.

Violations including failing to provide fall-protection equipment to employees working and walking on top of machinery, and exposing workers to electrical hazards, the agency said in a news release.

OSHA proposes that RB Lumber be subject to $59,100 in penalties.

The agency cited RB in 2011 for similar violations, the release says.

“RB Lumber continues to expose workers to hazards that were previously identified by inspectors. There is no reason we should be finding these hazards again,” said Robert Vazzi, director of OSHA’s Savannah Area office, in the release, which was issued Monday. “It’s management’s responsibility to protect workers, and they must take action immediately.”

RB Lumber officials did not return several calls last week from the Coastal Courier seeking comment.

RB Lumber has 15 days from receiving the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with Vazzi or contest the findings.
The citations were issued Oct. 8 based on an inspection of the facility performed from April 29 to May 5.

On April 29, the citation says, shaft ends projecting more than half the shaft’s diameter were not guarded by non-rotating caps or safety sleeves, exposing employees to what OSHA terms a “caught-in hazard.”

The inspection also found that a cutting head on a planer did not prevent employees from being exposed to flying debris such as wood chips when the pressure-bar lever is used to allow lumber to be fed through the planer.

Both of those violations were listed as “serious.”

Three others were listed as “repeat” because RB had previously been cited for similar violations on Sept. 17, 2010. They were:

• Fall protection was not provided to employees who were working or walking on the stacker table chain conveyor system, exposing them to a trip-and-fall hazard of about 6.8 feet onto a concrete floor.
• Fall protection was not provided to employees on a section of the planer infeed platform, exposing employees to a 4-foot, 10-inch fall hazard.
• Fall protection was not provided to employees on the sorter incline chain conveyor side of the platform, exposing workers to an 8.5-foot fall hazard onto a concrete floor.

Another repeat violation — also previously cited Sept. 17, 2010 — was that stairways were not provided with a standard handrail on at least one side or any open side. That violation, the citation says, was corrected during the inspection.

Live electrical wiring inside an electrical box that controlled infeed pineapples was not guarded, creating a fire hazard, the citation says, adding that this, too, was corrected during the inspection. RB had been cited for a similar violation Nov. 8, 2011.

A saw mill had several unused openings on the trim saw-control panel that were not closed, creating another fire hazard. This was corrected during the inspection, and RB Lumber had been cited for a similar violation Nov. 8, 2011, the citation says.

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