Earlier this year, a review panel addressed OSHA’s ability to issue fines for not having injury records that date back from more than the current year. Now OSHA has used its new authority to level an additional $40,000 in fines to one company.
OSHA inspected Thomasville Lumber Co. in Alabama in December 2010 as part of its national emphasis program to prevent workplace amputations.
It issued a $70,000 willful violation against Thomasville for not requiring lockout and tagout of equipment be performed only by authorized employees performing servicing or maintenance.
On top of that, OSHA issued four more willful citations for recordkeeping violations. OSHA says Thomasville failed to maintain complete and accurate entries in its injury log between 2007 and 2010 and issued a $10,000 penalty for each of the four years, totaling $40,000.
How is OSHA able to go back four years into Thomasville’s records?
In a case involving an inspection of Volks Constructors in 2006, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ruled OSHA can fine companies for not having injury records that go back five years.
Volks had argued that OSHA’s look-back could be no more than six months.
In its inspection of Thomasville, OSHA also found 13 serious and 2 other-than-serious violations to bring the company’s total penalties to $159,700. The serious violations involved lockout/tagout, machine guarding, platform and stairs, and electrical violations.