The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed $114,000 in fines against Weather Shield Manufacturing Inc. in Ladysmith, Wis., for eight alleged violations of federal workplace safety and health standards. The fines follow an OSHA investigation of a workplace fatality.
OSHA opened an inspection in September 2005 after a forklift operator was crushed by a stack of lumber that fell at the company's South Plant worksite in Ladysmith. One willful citation with proposed penalties of $70,000 was issued against Weather Shield for lumber bundles that were not properly stacked, secured and spaced to prevent them from falling.
"Improperly stacked and secured lumber has the potential to cause serious harm to workers. In this case, a worker lost his life," said Mark Hysell, director of OSHA's area office in Eau Claire, Wis.
OSHA also issued one repeat citation with a proposed penalty of $25,000 for lack of proper machine guarding. The employer failed to provide adequate machine guarding to prevent workers from contacting the blade of a knee-actuated saw. The firm was cited for a violation of the same standard in November 2003.
Additional penalties totaling $19,000 were issued for six serious citations, four of which dealt with unguarded machines, one with inadequate forklift training and the last with a narrow exit access.
Weather Shield Manufacturing manufactures wood, vinyl and steel insulated doors and windows. OSHA has inspected the company 11 times since 1989, and nine inspections resulted in citations.