Pallet manufacturer fined $177K after worker is struck by a machine and dies

Pallet manufacturer fined $177K after worker is struck by a machine and dies

June 4, 2024
Since 2016, Konz’s Appleton plant has been inspected five times, and was cited for four serious violations in 2019.

An OSHA investigation has determined that Konz Wood Products could have prevented the death of a 57-year-old employee. The worker suffered fatal injuries while trying to remove a stuck board from a lumber stacking machine. The machine was not locked out, and once the board was dislodged, the machine’s metal carriage stuck the employee, causing the injuries that lead to his death. During its investigation, OSHA learned that the pallet manufacturer was not properly training its workers on machine safety policies or working to make sure that safety procedures were being followed.

This is not the first time the company has been investigated by OSHA. Since 2016, Konz’s Appleton plant has been inspected five times, and was cited for four serious violations in 2019. This most recent investigation resulted in two repeat violations for the company, stemming from a lack of lockout/tagout procedures and fall protection. Additionally, the company faces 15 serious violations for a host of workplace safety failures, including a lack of point-of-operation and machine guarding. For these violations, Konz Wood Products will have to pay $177,453 in penalties.

What people are saying

In a recent quote, OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack said, “Federal safety procedures protect workers from the dangers of coming in contact with moving machine parts, but when employers fail to train workers or ensure procedures are followed, workers are at risk for serious or fatal injuries. Konz Wood Products and Wisconsin’s entire lumber and wood products industry must work to improve employee safety by guarding machines during normal production and locking out and tagging equipment during the maintenance.”

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About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

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