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OSHA: Mans death preventable
Company cited following investigation of incident
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Forsyth County News


The death of an employee last spring at a south Forsyth steel company could have been prevented, labor safety officials said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announ-ced in a statement that it has cited AP Specialty Metals for 13 safety violations following the investigation of the death of Jeffrey E. Thurman.

Penalties from the citations total $65,900.

Thurman, 53, of Mayfield Drive, died April 13 after being pulled into a coil polisher at the Grassland Parkway plant. He was killed while operating the machine.

“Company management had the experience and knowledge to recognize and correct these hazards before the fatality,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “But they placed production ahead of worker safety, resulting in this tragedy.”

The company was given a willful citation for failing to install machine guards that would prevent employees from being caught up in machinery.

“OSHA is also issuing a serious violation for failing to develop and implement an energy control program that would protect workers from the unexpected release of energy or start-up of machinery,” the statement shows.

Attempts to reach company representatives for comment were unsuccessful.

OSHA additionally cited the business for serious violations including: fall hazards; lack of training on use of industrial trucks; two incidents of exposing workers to flying debris; exposure to unguarded chains and sprockets; using damaged parts on electrical equipment; and dispensing flammable liquid from a drum that was not grounded.

The company received two other-than-serious citations for failing to post an annual summary of injuries and illnesses on-site and not retaining OSHA logs for 2006 and 2007.

The statement shows that serious citations are issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about.

Other-than-serious violations have a direct relationship to job safety and health, but likely would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.