LOADING

Type to search

Latest Reports

Mulch manufacturer in Cumming cited for repeatedly endangering workers

David Pendered
A manufacturer of wood mulch in Cumming has been cited by the federal Department of Labor for endangering its workers. Mulch a popular ground cover. Credit: David Pendered

By David Pendered

Amputation hazards for employees are among the risks cited for the second time in less than a year at a manufacturing plant of mulch garden products in Cumming. The company has been ordered to pay $148,867 in penalties by the federal Department of Labor.

A manufacturer of wood mulch in Cumming has been cited by the federal Department of Labor for endangering its workers. Mulch a popular ground cover. Credit: David Pendered

Smith Garden Products, of Cumming, was found to have unsafe working conditions during inspections conducted from Nov. 5, 2019 to Dec. 6, 2019, according to the penalty notification released Feb. 20 by DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

This isn’t the first time the company was cited for endangering workers.
In a citation issued in May 2019 that was affirmed in July 2019, the company was cited for exposing workers to amputation and electrical hazards because workers weren’t taught how to use the equipment safely. The current penalty is $26,718.

On the same dates, OSHA cited the company for exposing workers to amputation and electrical hazards while using a machine that hot seals plastic bags of product.

The company has until March 10 to abate the situations.

Smith Garden Products was a locally owned company until Garick, LLC. purchased it in 2004, according to the company’s report. Garick was founded in Ohio by two partners and the company now is part of Hendricks Holding, Inc., according to a page on its website. Garick is one of three subsidiaries in Hendricks’ portfolio of “recycling and sustainability” businesses.

This is the second citation issued since December to a metro Atlanta garden supply company. In December, OSHA cited Kittrich Corp., operating as Avenger Products LLC, for conditions that exposed to conditions that threatened amputations, fire and electrical hazards. The company says its lawn care products are, “organic and natural soluitions….”

Michael Hejazi, OSHA’s acting director in the Atlanta-East area office, said in a statement of the citation to Smith Garden Products:

  • “Employers must implement comprehensive safety and health programs to readily identify and correct hazards in the workplace to prevent injuries or fatalities.”

Two significant penalties involve situations where employees were at risk of injury when servicing equipment. Each violation carried a penalty of $13,359. The situations resulted from a lack of clear procedures for securing equipment before service was started, in order to prevent injury:

  • Employees were at risk of, “struck by, caught in and amputation hazards” because procedures were not clearly specified as to how machines are to be de-energized before being serviced;
  • The same type of hazards existed on other machinery that pneumatic energy.

Compressed air was the source of another citation for Smith Garden Products.

Workers were put at risk by a pressure hose they used to clean equipment and to spray material off their clothing. The pressure exceeded 55 p.s.i. OSHA requires pressure be reduced to less than 30 p.s.i. if it’s to be used for cleaning purposes. The danger is that bits of material may be blasted at speed and hurt a workers.

Workers also were at risk of being shocked by electrical extension cords. Managers decided to light a sign with light fixtures powered by extension cords. The penalty was $4,866.

 

 

Tags:
David Pendered
David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.

    1

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.