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Hardwood Flooring Maker Faces Fines in Wisconsin

OSHA hit the repeat offender for 38 violations and $269,000 in penalties.

I Stock 1619333496
iStock.com/Volodymyr Kondratiev

According to a recent OSHA report, a hardwood flooring manufacturer in Laona, Wisconsin, continues to ignore federal safety and health regulations and expose workers to multiple hazards at its mill.

OSHA officials conducted an inspection at WD Flooring under the agency’s National Emphasis Program for amputation hazards on Sept. 5, 2023, and opened a concurrent health inspection that noted deficiencies in the employer’s hearing conservation program and a lack of training and information provided to employees about hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

OSHA cited WD Flooring for four repeat, 28 serious, and six other-than-serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $269,662.

Specifically, OSHA found WD Flooring failed to:

  • Use required lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Train workers in lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Install adequate guarding to protect workers from contact with operating machine parts on rollers, woodworking presses, upcut saws, chains, sprockets, belts, pulleys and shafts.
  • Protect workers from fall hazards.
  • Repair forklifts.
  • Operate forklifts safely.
  • Provide adequate personal protective equipment.
  • Protect workers from electrical hazards.
  • Implement a hearing conservation program, including training and hearing protection.
  • Record injuries in a timely manner.
  • Train employees on the hazards associated with chemicals in the workplace.

“Each year, hundreds of workers are injured in manufacturing facilities because their employer fails to implement machine safety procedures and train workers on safe operation,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton, Wisconsin. “In the last five years, OSHA has opened more than 960 inspections for amputation hazards at Wisconsin employers. All employers must evaluate their worksites and implement safety and health programs that protect workers and ensure a culture of safety on the job.”

WD Flooring has some 45 workers at its Laona facility.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the 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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