OSHA fines A and S Tree Service $44K for federal violations
OSHA’s Charleston Area Office initiated an inspection of an A and S Tree Service Inc site located at 222 Sweet Grape Run, Walton, West Virginia on Oct. 6, 2015, under its local emphasis program focused on logging. The logging industry is one of the five most hazardous industries, based on injury rates. Historically, the industry is the source of multiple fatalities in West Virginia. In 2015, 27 percent of all occupational fatalities in West Virginia occurred in logging.
Willful violations (defined as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement – purposeful disregard; or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.) were issued for the company permitting employees to ride as passengers on a dozer without the use of an assigned seat and safety belt, and exposed the employees to crushing injuries if the employees fell unexpectedly from the machine. The company also exposed a worker to danger of severe cuts or lacerations after allowing the employee to drop start a chainsaw.
The serious violations (a serious violation exists when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation) include an employee not wearing required heavy-duty leather boots while operating a chainsaw; an employee not wearing face protection while using a chainsaw to limb trees; a bulldozer operated on rough terrain without the use of the provided seatbelt; and trees felled with inadequate undercuts that help control the tree’s fall.
The other-than-serious (a violation that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but is not serious in nature, is classified as “other-than-serious.”) citations related to a missing operator manual for a dozer, lack of current first-aid and CPR training, and absence of a hazard communication plan. “Loggers who manually fell trees with chainsaws are exposed to the greatest logging risks, making it critical for employers to ensure safeguards are in place to prevent injuries or death,” said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA’s Charleston Office. ‘Compliance with OSHA’s logging standard will eliminate many of the fatal accidents and greatly reduce the number of lost work day injuries occurring in the logging industry.”