Sawmill operator fined $184K after worker is crushed to death while trying to clear a jammed roller

July 6, 2023
Last year, a sawmill worker who was attempting to clear a jammed roller with five other employees was crushed to death when stored energy caused the infeed unit to close on him.

An OSHA investigation has concluded that Rex Lumber LLC failed to follow federal workplace safety standards at mills across the country.  Last year, a sawmill worker who was attempting to clear a jammed roller with five other employees was crushed to death when stored energy caused the infeed unit to close on him. OSHA cited the company for allowing employees to perform maintenance on machinery without controlling hazardous energy sources. Rex Lumber also did not properly train workers on how to isolate stored energy in hydraulic accumulators and failed to review its energy control procedures. This is not the first time workers have suffered injuries at Rex Lumber mills. In 2020 and 2021, employees at two Florida mills suffered fatal injuries after coming into contact with the nip point of a conveyor's roller and a faulty hydraulic valve. The company has been cited for 19 serious and other-than-serious violations since 2013 and will have to pay $184,385 in penalties.

In a recent quote, OSHA Area Office Director Jose Gonzalez said, "Rex Lumber's failure to comply with well-known safety requirements led to the death of a worker and put others at serious risk of harm. Safety standards exist to protect workers from the hazards of moving machinery and when followed, they can save lives."