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Madras lumber co. cited, fined for job safety violations after accident

Mid Columbia Lumber Products sprocket
Oregon OSHA
Sprocket at Madras lumber company into which worker's hand was dragged, according to Oregon OSHA

Oregon OSHA says worker's hand was injured in accident last September

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon OSHA said Tuesday it has cited Mid-Columbia Lumber Products in Madras for six violations of job safety rules – half of them repeat offenses – in connection with an accident investigation of the company’s worksite.

In one violation, OSHA said the company, which manufactures framing lumber, exposed workers to serious harm or death by not controlling the hazards involved in maintaining a powered machine – an outfeed conveyor. In another, it said the company subjected workers to the dangers of getting caught in an unguarded rotating sprocket.

The hazardous energy violation – a failure to use lock out and tag out procedures to isolate a machine from its power source – is the second such violation committed by Mid-Columbia Lumber Products since 2016, Oregon OSHA said. Likewise, the unguarded machine violation was a repeat of the company’s carelessness in 2017.

“There is simply no reason to expose workers to hazards that we have long known how to control or eliminate,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “To repeatedly violate safety standards – standards that exist to protect people from harm – is the height of recklessness.”

Oregon OSHA opened an investigation of Mid-Columbia Lumber Products last September, after an accident in which a worker attempted to put a moving chain back on the track of a moulder outfeed chain conveyor while it was still operating.

The worker’s left hand was dragged into the machine’s rotating sprocket. The worker’s injuries resulted in an amputated ring finger, an amputated pinky fingertip, and pins installed in the crushed middle and pointer fingers, the agency said.

Under Oregon OSHA rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat violations. The citation against Mid-Columbia Lumber Products carries a total proposed penalty of $8,610. The fine amount includes a standard penalty reduction, based on the company’s size.

Altogether, Oregon OSHA cited the company for the following violations:

  • Failing to maintain an effective centralized safety committee, which employers with multiple locations may use. This serious violation included not having a written safety and health policy; not posting safety committee minutes; not training committee members on hazard identification; and not conducting quarterly inspections.
  • Failing to conduct periodic inspections to ensure energy control procedures were being followed. This was a serious violation.
  • Failing to develop, document, and use procedures to control potentially hazardous energy when employees are doing service or maintenance work on a powered machine. This was as repeat violation.
  • Failing to provide machine guarding to protect employees from hazards created by point of operation, nip points, rotating parts, flying chips, and sparks. This was a repeat violation.  
  • Failing to train employees in the safe application, use, and removal of energy control devices. This was a repeat violation.
  • Failing to maintain and produce documents related to recording workplace injuries and illnesses. This was an other-than-serious violation.

In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help improve workplace safety and health.

Contact Oregon OSHA’s no-cost consultation services for help with safety and health programs:

Phone: 503-378-3272

Toll-free in Oregon: 800-922-2689

Field office locations and phone numbers: https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/maps.aspx

Email: consult.web@oregon.gov

The agency’s technical staff members can answer questions about rules and how to apply them:

Phone: 503-378-3272

Toll-free in Oregon: 800-922-2689

Email: tech.web@oregon.gov

Online contact form: https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/Contact-Technical.aspx

Learn about the control of hazardous energy by visiting Oregon OSHA’s A-to-Z topic page: https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/topics/control-of-hazardous-energy.aspx

Accidents and Crashes / Central Oregon / Madras / Money / Top Stories

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. Let’s be clear- “OK Boomer- Michael Wood” is a statewide embarrassment !

    “There is simply no reason to expose workers to hazards that we have long known how to control or eliminate,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA.”

    Really boomer ? That’s your statement ??? That there is “no reason” to expose workers to hazards ???

    Sure there is- it’s called “PROFITS” !

    And your “Johnny come lately” comments are further evidence that you do not understand the basic concepts of Safety Management- that your “lag time” observations are nothing more than evidence of failed leadership.

    C’mon Michael- what exactly are you doing to change legislation to put some serious teeth in these fines ? In the last two weeks we’ve seen where a job site related death is worth $15,000- and now- as many as six violations- more than half repeat- on a site that damn near tore a man’s arm off… are worth no more than a mere $8,000 ??? Are you joking ? That lumber mill can recoup those losses by the first break of the day !

    Here- try this… “Your Mill has been officially shut down until further notice- pending clear and concise evidence that the safety issues observed have been rectified.” Good Day !

    Boomer Wood- Please resign your position immediately- for the sake of the State of Oregon and the hundreds of thousands of workers here that depend on OSHA regulations and enforcement to maintain a safe work environment !

  2. This company will also have to pay all medical and loss of work expenses, let alone, a possible lawsuit. Some companies will never learn until they go out of business because of their carelessness. 🙁

    1. No- In Oregon an injured employee cannot sue his/her employer for injuries sustained on the job- not unless there was some criminal intent.

      Instead- the state will coordinate rehab- a care-taker- or provide one with new job skills- it’s the Oregon Ombudsman system- and it is part of a statewide problem that has Oregon consistently near the top of America’s most dangerous states to work in.

  3. I find it tragic that these types of companies are not caught until after an incident. There are countless companies in Central Oregon that push the safety envelope daily. I hope there are permanent safety changes that arise from this incident. Still, there are many other industries that need to have surprise inspections or undercover investigations performed.

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