LITTLE ROCK, AR – A federal workplace safety investigation determined that 39-year-old employee of a south Arkansas timberland and sawmill facility suffered fatal injuries from an automated lumber stacking machine at its Bearden location.
Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the employee of Anthony Timberlands Inc. was cleaning around and beneath the machine in February 2023 when its hoist table fell on them. Inspectors learned the company had the lumber stacking system installed in July 2022 without any barrier devices to prevent employees from entering the area beneath the stacker hoist.
OSHA issued citations to the company for four serious violations, including failing to provide lockout and tagout procedures to prevent a machine from starting and moving during maintenance, not ensuring that guards were in place beneath the stacking system, failing to provide barriers to stop employees from entering the danger zone and not making sure to have signage in place to warn employees about crushing hazards.
The agency proposed $218,759 in penalties for the violations.
“This is not the first time an employee of Anthony Timberlands Inc. has died due the company’s failure to follow established safety requirements for working near automated machinery,” said OSHA Area Director Kia McCullough in Little Rock, Arkansas. “This company’s continued disregard for the safety and well-being of its employees is inexcusable and must stop. Ensuring workers’ safety is not optional, it’s the law.”
In August 2022, OSHA cited the company after an employee at its Malvern facility suffered fatal injuries when an unguarded sharp chain activated. The agency also cited the employer in January 2020, when an employee in Bearden facility suffered a thumb amputation when their finger made contact with an unguarded chipper feeder.
Based in Beirne, Anthony Timberlands Inc. has approximately 800 employees at seven Arkansas locations.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of citation and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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