Lumber Company Cited After Worker Suffers Partial Finger Amputation

Federal safety inspectors found multiple woodworking machines at a Wisconsin lumber company lacked adequate safeguards and workers weren't properly trained in isolating energy to machines to prevent contact with operating parts during set-up, servicing and maintenance.

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MARATHON, WI — Federal safety inspectors found multiple woodworking machines at a Wisconsin lumber company lacked adequate safeguards and that workers were not properly trained in isolating energy to machines to prevent contact with operating parts during set-up, servicing and maintenance.

On Dec. 27, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed penalties of $260,113, to Menzner Lumber and Supply after its investigation of a June 29, 2016, injury in which a 24-year-old worker suffered the partial amputation of his right middle finger. In its investigation, OSHA identified three repeated and seven serious safety violations.

"Despite earlier machine-related injuries, OSHA found several machines at the company lacked adequate safeguards to prevent workers from coming in contact with operating parts," said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton. "Menzner Lumber and Supply should immediately re-evaluate its safety and health programs and ensure their workers are properly trained."

OSHA also found electrical safety violations, lack of guarding on ladder wells to prevent falls, and inadequate energy control procedures at the facility.

In previous investigations, OSHA learned that a machine severed a 25-year-old employee's left middle finger on April 2, 2015, and that a 34-year-old worker lost the tip of his right thumb on Jan. 12, 2015, when each came in contact with machine operating parts.

The Marathon-based company manufacturers hardwoods, veneers, moldings and other wood products and operates facilities in four states. 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.

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