Safety and OSHA News

Forklift injury prompts OSHA visit, $47K fine

A worker for a Georgia nursery crushed his pelvis in a forklift accident. OSHA investigated and discovered 17 unrelated serious safety violations at the facility. 

On March 18, 2016, a forklift driven by a worker for Evergreen Nursery in Statham, GA, overturned and crushed the worker’s pelvis. The 36-year-old worker’s hospitalization triggered an OSHA visit.

OSHA’s investigation revealed the forklift operator wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. The agency has a Regional Emphasis Program to reduce injuries and fatalities related to powered industrial trucks. Evergreen Nursery is within OSHA’s Region 4 jurisdiction, which includes Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.

OSHA cited the company for 18 serious safety violations, including failure to:

  • ensure workers operating powered industrial trucks wore seatbelts
  • repair damaged electrical cords
  • develop a written respiratory protection program
  • train employees who were required to wear respirators
  • mark propane fuel containers with hazardous warning labels
  • install a guardrail system on two mezzanines
  • evaluate forklift operators’ performance at least once every three years
  • install a face cover on an outlet box
  • provide personal protective equipment to workers
  • develop a hazard communication program for workers handling chemicals
  • provide written energy control procedures to prevent machinery from starting during maintenance and servicing, and
  • guard machine parts and equipment.

Evergreen Nursery faces a $46,900 fine.

William Fulcher, OSHA’s area director in the Atlanta-East Office, said:

“Evergreen Nursery is exposing workers to numerous serious safety hazards and needs to be more proactive with assessing the workplace for hazards and taking action to correct them. This incident could have been prevented if management had followed OSHA standards.”

The company is a wholesale nursery that’s been in business for 37 years, according to the Athens Georgia Nursery Growers Association. Evergreen employs about 40 workers.

Evergreen has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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