Alabama mill slapped with $2 million fine
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced $1,939,000 in proposed penalties for Phenix Lumber Co., a sawmill in Phenix City, Ala., for safety violations that include exposing employees to amputation and fall hazards.
Prior to the June 14 citations, Phenix Lumber had been cited 77 times by OSHA for serious safety and health violations since 2007, according to the OSHA announcement.
OSHA began an inspection on Dec. 15, 2010, in response to a complaint that employees working in the planer mill were exposed to amputation hazards, while maintaining, cleaning and clearing jams on pieces of machinery that did not have their energy sources locked out to prevent their unexpected startup. Two months later, OSHA received a second complaint that an employee had suffered a partial finger amputation while clearing a piece of machinery that had not been locked out. At the opening of an inspection following the second complaint, the compliance officer learned of another employee who had just suffered a severe hand injury while working on unguarded machinery.
Phenix Lumber had been cited numerous times during the past four years for allowing employees to work on unguarded machinery while it was operating, OSHA said in its announcement. Copies of the citations can be viewed by clicking here and here.
Phenix Lumber and principal John Dudley have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
New Jersey-based Kuiken Brothers opens ninth yard
Fair Lawn, N.J.-based Kuiken Brothers opened its ninth location, in Succasunna, N.J.
The new retail site features a 12-acre, state-of-the-art, drive-through lumber and building materials facility that will serve builders, remodelers and homeowners.
“Since its founding, Kuiken Brothers has been strategically expanding its New Jersey market, which now includes Succasunna,” said Douglas Kuiken, Kuiken Brothers’ president. “We’re delivering on our promise to be the leading supplier of lumber, millwork and building materials in the markets we serve.”
The Succasunna location features thousands of residential and commercial building materials; an on-site window and door showroom; a kitchen selection center; an on-site window assembly shop; rail siding, which provides direct mill shipments; and a Benjamin Moore Paint Selection center. In addition, Kuiken Brothers offers continuing education seminars, has on-site kitchen designers, free product literature and samples, and veteran building and sales associates to help answer construction or do-it-yourself questions.
Kuiken Brothers now operates yards in eight New Jersey locations — Fair Lawn, Emerson, Midland Park, Ogdensburg, Wantage, Garfield, Succasunna and Roseland. It also has a yard in Warwick, N.Y.
Settlement reached in Florida drywall case
One of the largest Florida suppliers of tainted drywall has reached a preliminary settlement with a group of plaintiffs, counsels for the parties announced June 15.
The insurers of Banner Supply Co. and its various subsidiaries have agreed to pay $55 million to homeowners in Florida who claim their homes were built with contaminated Chinese drywall.
One of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Russ Herman of New Orleans, said that attorneys for the plaintiffs "continue to engage in negotiations with other responsible parties, and [they] expect other settlement developments within the next 60 days. This is an ongoing process to secure complete relief for affected homeowners."
Michael Peterson, Banner’s counsel, of the firm Peterson and Espino of Miami, said, "Our business has thrived for over 58 years because our customers have trusted us. We are settling this matter to bring a resolution for our customers and to allow the homeowners to fix their homes. We regret that this could not have been achieved sooner, but Banner recognizes that prolonged litigation would not have accomplished this goal."
According to the plaintiffs’ counsel, it is estimated that 60,000 to 100,000 homes were built using defective Chinese drywall from a number of suppliers between 2004 and 2008 throughout the country. The defective drywall has been associated with unpleasant and potentially harmful odors and fumes that corrode metals, including air conditioning units, fixtures and other appliances.
The proposed settlement must receive approval from U.S. District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon before it can be considered final.