R.A. Yancey Lumber Corp. in Crozet was fined $24,294 after an employee died at the facility last July.
The company was cited by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry for four violations that were found while investigating the death of Floriberta Macedo-Diaz, 46.
According to investigation documents, Macedo-Diaz was walking to her work area before the start of her shift when she passed by a stack of lumber pieces that weighed about 260 pounds each.
A witness heard the lumber fall and then saw Macedo-Diaz lying under multiple pieces of lumber.
The documents said the medical examiner’s pathological diagnosis indicated that she received multiple and severe blunt-force trauma injuries to her head area, chest, abdomen and extremities.
The investigation report details the chain of events after the lumber fell, when, ultimately, a supervisor tried to assist Macedo-Diaz and another employee was told to run to the office to call 911.
During the investigation, it was found that each unit package of lumber was separated by stickers, which are used to allow for airflow. On one side, the sticker “would not fully support the end column of lumber on the top unit package,” which is the package that fell.
“None of the unit packages of any of the other lumber piles were banded or secured,” the report said. “The area around the lumber piles, including the incidence scene[,] was not fenced off to prevent employees from entering into the area.”
Other lumber piles were seen leaning against adjacent piles, the report said.
Fork truck operators transport the lumber unit packages to make the piles, but there was no verbal confirmation or documentation that the sticker was fully supporting all of the lumber pieces when creating the piles.
According to the report, it is thought that the sticker was either not placed correctly or moved out of position when the unit package was placed.
Yancey Lumber initially received four serious violations totaling $34,705 in fines, but that amount was lowered to $24,294 after an informal settlement.
The company was fined $4,365 for having no employees trained in first aid and no first aid kit readily available.
“Yancey Lumber Company is [a] large facility involving powerful machinery and very heavy mobile and stationary objects,” the report stated. “There should be first aid kits distributed throughout the facility.”
One $2,471 fine was given for not having written training or documentation for certain fork truck operations, “specifically for creating a unit package, placing stickers on the unit package or stacking the unit package to create a lumber pile.”
An $8,729 fine was given because other unit packages showed “significant signs of instability.”
“These lumber piles were not banded nor was the area in which a unit package or pile could fall fenced off or barricaded to prevent employees from entering the area,” the report said.
Another $8,729 fine was levied for incorrect sticker alignment.
“The main cause of this incident was due to one of the top stickers not extending the full width of the unit package to fully support all of the individual pieces of lumber,” the report said.
It was also recommended that the company improve its communication system to contact emergency services when needed.
The report said there had been confusion on trying to contact EMS, and time could have been saved if the supervisor used his two-way radio to contact the front office instead of sending an employee.
“However, this time lapse for contacting emergency services probably would not have changed the outcome of the incident considering the extent of the severe injuries that were instantaneously sustained by the victim,” the report said.