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Box company fined for safety violations

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited McDuffie Box Co., Inc. in Thomson for safety violations. Penalties total $47,550, according to a press release from the government agency.

The box company has 15 business days to comply, contest the findings, or request a conference with OSHA's area director. When contacted by The McDuffie Mirror, McDuffie Box Company's owner, Chris Mercer, said he did not wish to comment.

"It's still pending, and I have no comment to make until it's closed," Mr. Mercer said.

OSHA began its inspection in March after receiving a complaint concerning improper machine guarding which caused an employee to lose several fingers on one hand.

"This injury could have been prevented if the employer implemented OSHA standards for lockout/tagout procedures," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "Management knew what the standard is and failed to make the required change to protect its workers."

The company is being cited for "one willful safety violation" with $42,000 in proposed penalties for failing to develop specific lockout/tagout procedures on several machines in the facility. A willful citation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health, OSHA officials said.

The complaint also addressed the issues of no emergency stops on machines, slip hazards, lack of forklift training and inoperable horns on forklifts.

The local company also is being cited for nine violations involving employees being exposed to amputation hazards, improper storing of cylinders that create struck-by hazards and several electrical deficiencies. Those nine penalties total $5,500.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

Web posted on Thursday, September 30, 2010

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