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OSHA Cites Lumber Company Over Arkansas Worker’s Death

1 min read

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has cited a Texas-based lumber company over the death of a worker in Rison (Cleveland County) last year.

The agency said the 18-year-old worker was fatally struck by a forklift in July when a “makeshift brake” on the vehicle failed. Investigators found that Hixson Lumber Co. LLC has been allowing the teen to operate the forklift without proper certification, and had been left unsupervised at the time of the incident. 

OSHA cited Hixson for one willful and four serious violations alleging that the company failed to train the worker, left keys inside unsecured forklifts, and did not make sure the forklift used by the teenager had a proper parking brake, working horn and backup alarm as required.

The agency has proposed $218,759 in penalties.

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

“A family, his friends and co-workers are left to mourn a young man whose life was cut short because his employer failed to follow safety requirements that would have prevented this tragedy,”  Kia McCullough, director of OSHA’s office in Little Rock, said in a statement. “Hixson Lumber Company did not meet its legal responsibility to ensure that hazardous equipment was maintained, and that only trained and certified workers are allowed operate forklifts.”

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