TIGERTON, WI – A follow-up investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor has concluded a central Wisconsin sawmill “continued to expose many of its employees to amputation and other dangers”.
Tigerton Lumber, located in the small community of the same name about 40 miles southeast of Wausau, had previously deemed a severe violator in 2019 after an investigation into how an employee suffered fatal injuries at the sawmill in 2018.
“The July 2023 inspection by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined Tigerton Lumber Co. in Tigerton violated federal regulations for energy control procedures, and failed to affix personal locks needed as part of lockout/tagout program to prevent equipment from operating while employees cleared debris, changed blades and serviced equipment” read the report released Tuesday. “OSHA also learned the sawmill failed to provide employees with required safety training.”
After that July investigation, Tigerton was assessed over 283,000 dollars in fines. The specific violations at the mill included:
- Inadequate machine guarding on belts, pulleys, shafts, chains and sprockets.
- Belt and pulley not closed completely to prevent employee injury.
- Stairs without railings, exposing workers to fall hazards.
- Conveyors not properly guarded, operated or maintained.
- Lower landing area of stackers and un-stackers did not have safety guards to prevent access.
- Hazards near ring barkers, and conveyors not fenced off or marked as prohibited areas.
- Barriers and warning signs not posted to prevent employees from entering dangerous spaces.
- Open and unsafe electrical boxes.
The investigation was conducted around the same time as an unrelated incident at a separate sawmill in Florence County, where a 16-year-old died from injuries they suffered at Florence Hardwoods.
Opened in 1987, Tigerton Lumber employs about 60 workers at its sawmill. The company has has 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 & Health Review Commission.
WTMJ has reached out to Tigerton Lumber for comment.
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