GARDEN CITY, GA – An international freight handling company exposed dozens of employees at a Port of Savannah warehouse to potentially deadly hazards by allowing them to work with automobiles and motorcycles suspended overhead, the U.S. Department of Labor has found.
Inspectors with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that W8 Shipping LLC willfully exposed workers to the risk of being struck or crushed by falling vehicles elevated by forklifts during loading and unloading. The company also failed to provide eye protection to workers changing liquid propane tanks and using nail guns. OSHA inspectors also cited the company for allowing flammable wood dust to build up on electrical outlets and equipment, floors and other machinery.
“For decades, established safety standards have been in place to protect workers from dangers that W8 Shipping’s employees face and yet the company chose to ignore federal regulations,” explained OSHA Acting Area Director Heather Sanders in Savannah, Georgia. “When it comes to workplace safety, shortcuts are the quickest route to serious injuries or worse.”
In addition, inspectors found W8 Shipping permitted employees to drive powered industrial trucks with obstructed views and without instruction, training or regular evaluations, and sometimes with unstable loads, and allowed employees to work on the trailers at heights over 6 feet without fall protection.
OSHA cited the company for 22 serious violations, one willful violation and one other-than-serious violation. W8 Shipping LLC faces $379,709 in proposed penalties.
Originated in 2005 as G&G Auto Sales LLC in Tampa, Florida, the company rebranded itself in 2010 as W8 Shipping LLC, an international freight forwarder providing global shipping services. In 2020, the company reported the loading of 115,000 cars for export. The company has about 43 employees at its Garden City, Georgia location. W8 Shipping also operates at U.S. warehouses in Carson, California; Jersey City, New Jersey; La Porte, Texas; and Tacoma, Washington.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations 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.
OSHA’s website includes information on developing a workplace safety and health program, that applies to all workplaces. OSHA also offers free work-specific tools as well. Employers can even contact the agency for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards. Learn more about OSHA.