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Maxwell Flooring Fined for Injury at Unguarded Blade

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January 18, 2022 | Bill Esler

Monticello, AR—The Department of Labor proposed Maxwell Hardwood Flooring be fined $204,797 after a knot saw operator lost part of his index finger when his hand came in contact with an unguarded rotating blade.

That incident and five others, including a June 2021 laceration of a co-worker’s palm on a similar saw, led to an inspection by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the Monticello, AR plant. The co-worker also suffered nerve damage.

During the inspection OSHA determined that the flooring manufacturer failed to record the laceration on the company’s OSHA 300 log, as the law requires. OSHA cited the company for one willful violation, three serious and two other-than-serious violations for five unguarded circular saws in use, lack of safe access and egress to and from walking-working surfaces, obstructed exit routes, and a lack of a stair-rail system and handrails. OSHA proposed $204,797 in penalties.

OSHA issued citations for recordkeeping violations on November 19, and for willful and serious violations on December 2.

“Maxwell Hardwood Flooring’s disregard for the safety of its workers has left two people with serious injuries,” says OSHA Area Director Kia E. McCullough in Little Rock, AR. “Workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. Employers must comply with safety requirements to ensure workers return home each day safely. When an employer fails to fulfill its obligation, OSHA will hold them accountable.”

Exposure to amputation hazards is one of the top 10 most frequently cited violations. OSHA’s Machine Guarding web page provides compliance assistance resources to help employers identify amputation hazards and follow required procedures to properly guard stationary and portable machines. Maxwell Hardwood Flooring was given 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

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