February 25, 2020

4 Min Read
OSHA Fines Mulch Manufacturer $148K for Safety Hazards
OSHA fined Garick LLC for safety hazards at the firm's Cumming, GA facility. Image courtesy of Pixabay

A Georgia-based manufacturer of specialty mulch products was issued several citations and a fine of $148,867 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after the agency uncovered safety hazards at a facility operated by the company.

USDOL announced in a recent release that OSHA cited Garick LLC, operating as Smith Garden Products, after an inspection of its Cumming, GA facility for failing to ensure energy control procedures contained clear and specific steps to limit the release of hazardous energy. The agency also cited the company for failing to provide and ensure that employees affixed lockout/tagout devices to block machines and equipment from energy sources, train workers to recognize applicable hazardous energy sources, and conduct a periodic inspection of the lockout program at least annually.

Other violations included failing to ensure machinery was effectively guarded, allowing employees to operate defective powered industrial trucks, and failing to reduce compressed air to the appropriate level before allowing workers to use it for cleaning purposes. OSHA conducted the inspection in accordance with the National Emphasis Program on Amputations and the Regional Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Trucks.

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“Employers must implement comprehensive safety and health programs to readily identify and correct hazards in the workplace to prevent injuries or fatalities,” OSHA Atlanta-East Acting Area Office Director Michael Hejazi said in a statement. 

The company has 15 business days after receiving the citations to comply, challenge the findings before an independent panel, or request an informal conference with an OSHA area director. 

This month, OSHA also cited Dana Rail Care for workplace safety and health hazards at the facility in Wilmington, DE and fined the company $371,276. The agency initiated an inspection of the tank rail car cleaning and repair facility in August 2019 after receiving a complaint of numerous safety and health hazards. OSHA cited the company for electrical and explosion hazards, insufficient means of egress, use of defective powered industrial trucks, lack of medical clearance for respiratory protection use, improper use of respirators and inadequate secondary air supply, and lack of signage in a silica-regulated area. 

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