UPDATE: U.S. Department of Labor issues corrections in regards to Rex Lumber

Published 10:37 am Friday, July 7, 2023

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This week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its findings in regards to the 2022 death of a Rex Lumber worker at its Troy facility and on July 7, the DOL has issued a correction to a part of its press release.

In the original release, the DOL incorrectly attributed previous violations from a different Rex Lumber to the company that owns the Troy location. The Rex Lumber that owns the Troy location also owns sawmills in Mississippi and Florida, while the other Rex Lumber owns sawmills in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The DOL issued a corrected press release removing the violations attributed to the other company. The DOL, however, stands by its investigation into the Troy facility.

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“OSHA stands by its initial findings of its December 2022 investigation at Rex Lumber in Troy, Alabama,” a statement to The Messenger read.

On Dec. 21, 2022, Troy Police responded to an accident at Rex Lumber in Troy. Police officers arrived on the scene to find 20-year-old Evan Kilpatrick, of Troy, had succumbed to injuries that he received while working on a piece of machinery at the sawmill.

According to OSHA, the sawmill worker was a part of a six-man crew that was working to clear a jammed roller at Rex Lumber when Kilpatrick was crushed after stored energy caused the infeed unit to close on him.

OSHA issued Rex Lumber a willful citation for allowing workers to preform maintenance on equipment without controlling hazardous energy sources. OSHA also states that Rex Lumber failed to review its energy control procedures regularly to ensure compliance and did not train employees on how to isolate stored energy in hydraulic accumulators.

OSHA states that this is the third time that Rex Lumber has failed to follow federal workplace safety standards across its organization since 2020. According to the release, two other incidents occurred in 2020 and 2021 at Rex Lumber sawmills in Florida.

Rex Lumber has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.