An OSHA investigation has determined that Florence Hardwoods LLC allowed minors to perform maintenance on equipment. Additionally, the teenage workers, as well as adult workers at the facility, were not properly trained on how to prevent dangerous equipment from moving during service and maintenance tasks or required to follow safety procedures. In June 2023, a 16-year-old worker lost his life when he became trapped in a stick stacker machine as he tried to unjam it. An additional ingestion was also conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, and the sawmill terminated all of the children's jobs. Florence Hardwoods was cited for eight willful, six repeat, 29 serious and four other-than-serious violations of federal safety and health regulations, with five of the willful citations being categorized as egregious. The company will be placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program and faces $1.4 million in penalties.
In a recent quote, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su said, "There is no excuse for allowing underage workers to operate this type of machinery. Federal child labor and safety regulations exist to prevent employers from putting children at risk. They also exist to hold employers like Florence Hardwoods accountable for endangering these young workers."