A 21-year-old worker at Missouri Mats in Brashear, Missouri, suffered fatal injuries earlier this year. The employee, who had been on the job for less than a month, was learning how to operate a saw when he became caught in the machinery and was pulled into the blades. The company’s owner, Don Gibson, did not report the incident to OSHA. When the department did conduct an investigation, they required Missouri Mats to protect employees from amputation hazards. During a follow-up inspection, OSHA discovered that no controls or procedures had been implemented to address worker safety. It wasn’t until the agency placed an imminent danger notice on the saw that changes were made. In addition to these issues, OSHA noted that underage workers were operating heavy-powered industrial trucks, a violation of federal law, and notified the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The company faces two willful, 53 serious and two other than-serious safety and health violations. OSHA is proposing $346,954 in penalties and has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
In a recent quote, OSHA Regional Administrator Billie Kizer said, “After a young man — new to the job — died after suffering horrific injuries, Don Gibson and the Missouri Mats’ management team continued to use the equipment involved in the fatality without taking appropriate steps to eliminate the danger and protect employees. Deadly hazards exist in the sawmill and logging industries, and it is essential that Gibson and others in the industry follow federal safety requirements.”