Athens wood maker ignored required safety precautions, reports say

ATHENS, Alabama (WAFF) — United States Department of Labor investigators have determined that an Athens lumber manufacturer ignored required safety precautions that resulted in the death of a worker in November 2021.

On November 15, 2021, Cassandra Hill, 45, was killed after a forklift hit her as she walked through an Athens lumber shipping yard. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Sunbelt Forest Products LLC for exposing workers to collision risks by allowing employees to walk where forklift operators do not. couldn’t see them.

Sunbelt Forest Products LLC was also cited for failing to distinguish and mark shipping service travel aisles for trucks, forklifts and pedestrians.

“A forklift typically weighs between 4,000 and 9,000 pounds and poses a significant risk of serious injury or death to workers who may be struck by this equipment. Employers must take precautions in workplaces that use motorized industrial vehicles to avoid devastating incidents and death,” OSHA Regional Office Director Ramona Morris said in a statement.

The company did not require forklift operators to keep a clear view of the driving lane and to remove damaged forklifts from service. OSHA proposed $53,866 in penalties for the Athens-based manufacturer.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply.

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Susan W. Lloyd