OSHA investigates Linden Lumber

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2007

LINDEN &045; The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is still compiling information for its investigation of the accident that resulted in the death of Ronny Pritchett at Linden Lumber Company.

Scott Kirkpatrick with human resources at the company said the OSHA onsite portion of the investigation is complete. He said the company is waiting to receive the group’s findings on the incident.

If OSHA labels the accident as a serious violation of its guidelines it will be the third time Linden Lumber has been investigated for serious offenses in the past five years. The company was found at fault for a serious violation involving general requirements in December of 2002, and it was found at fault for three serious violations involving general requirements for machines, control of hazardous energy and maintenance, safeguards and operational features for exit routes in May of 2004.

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The fines levied against the company in both cases totaled $12,450 and all investigations were settled through informal settlements. Linden Lumber couldn’t be reached for comment on the OSHA investigations performed prior to the newest accident at press time.

Assistant Director of the OSHA offices based out of Mobile, which is in charge of the Linden Lumber investigation, Jeff Funke said the investigation has yet to be completed. He said the organization has up to six months to release their findings, and, if the investigation warrants it, he said the investigator could return to the site to obtain more information.

The investigation focuses on the death of Pritchett who fell around 30 feet through a skylight at the plant and died on impact. Pritchett was the only person involved in the accident. He did not have on a safety harness while he was on the roof and he wasn’t tied off to anything.

Kirkpatrick said in a previous interview with the Times that the company contacted OSHA immediately after the accident. Funke said in a previous interview the group responded to the call quickly, as it does with all accidents, where a death is involved.