The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed $576,750 in penalties against Sims Bark Co. and Sims Stone Co. for 142 workplace safety and health violations. The agency is proposing 14 violations and $79,100 in penalties for the Olive Branch bark plant; 20 violations and $94,400 in penalties for the company’s bark plant in Brent, Alabama; 59 violations and $260,900 in penalties for the bark and stone plants in Tuscumbia, Alabama; and 49 violations and $142,350 in penalties for the bark and stone plants in Woodbury, Georgia. Inspections began after OSHA received a complaint and determined that similar hazards might exist at other locations of the two companies.
Willful citations are being issued against the Brent, Tuscumbia and Olive Branch bark plants and the Tuscumbia stone plant for allowing workers to service, unjam and clean machinery without procedures in place to ensure that workers won’t be caught in or struck by equipment or burned by machines’ heat strips. Identified hazards involve lack of employee training, exposure to electric shocks, lack of fall protection, lack of machine guards, exposure to noise hazards, struck-by dangers and accumulations of combustible dust. The agency is issuing other-than-serious violations against all of the locations for failing to keep workplace injury logs according to OSHA rules. Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta, stated:
Sims Bark and Sims Stone management have displayed a systemic indifference to the safety and health of their own employees, resulting in a dangerous work environment.
With two plants in Alabama and one in Mississippi, Sims Bark is one of the largest manufacturers in the nation for mulch, soil and landscape rocks. It appears they need to get their safety house in order.
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