Athens lumber manufacturer ignored required safety precautions, according to reports

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 11:33 AM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - Investigators from the United States Department of Labor have determined an Athens lumber manufacturer ignored required safety precautions that led to the death of a worker in November 2021.

On Nov. 15, 2021, Cassandra Hill, 45, was killed after a forklift hit her while she walked across an Athens lumber shipping yard. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Sunbelt Forest Products LLC for exposing workers to struck-by hazards by allowing employees to walk where forklift drivers could not see them.

Sunbelt Forest Products LLC was also cited for failing to distinguish and mark shipping department travel aisles for trucks, forklifts and pedestrians.

“A forklift typically weighs between 4,000 to 9,000 pounds and poses significant risk of severe injury or death to workers who may be struck-by this equipment. Employers must take precautions in workplaces that use powered industrial vehicles to prevent devastating incidents and the loss of someone’s life,” OSHA Area Office Director Ramona Morris said in a statement.

The company did not require forklift drivers to keep a clear view of the driving path and remove damaged forklifts from service. OSHA proposed $53,866 in penalties for the Athens-based manufacturer.

The company has 15 business days from receiving citations and penalties to comply.

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