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Coastal Carolina University adds safety measures following OSHA report

June 3, 2009

The Office of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) issued a Citation and Notification of Proposed Penalty to Coastal Carolina University as a result of a workplace inspection following a tree cutting incident on campus that resulted in the accidental death of a University employee on March 27, 2009.

The report, issued on May 19, cited the University with five violations as well as $1,950 in penalties. The University's Department of Facilities Management and Planning has implemented corrective measures to address the violations.

"The University is determined to ensure employee safety through enhanced training, providing protective gear and outsourcing specialized campus projects to certified vendors," said University President David A. DeCenzo. "The health of our employees and their families is vital to the future of our campus, county and region."

The report cites the University for not recognizing the potential hazard to employees of operating a chain saw to fell trees, and for not conducting a Personal Protective Equipment Hazard Assessment. Other citations note the fact that protective safety wear was not worn by employees, including helmet, safety glasses and face shields.

The University intends to accept the citations and the penalties, and has begun implementing corrective measures. All chain saws are now stored in a locked area and can only be accessed by University grounds supervisor and assistant supervisor. Only one grounds employee is approved to utilize a chain saw at present. On May 12, 2009, an OSHA representative visited the Coastal Carolina University campus to conduct a chain saw training seminar. All available grounds staff participated in the training session. The grounds crew is using pole saws only for any cutting of trees or tree limbs, which limits the tree or limb size to only a 6- to 8-inch diameter. All crews now have the correct personal protective equipment available to them for tree cutting, including protective eyewear, ear protection, hardhats and chaps. The removal of larger trees on campus is handled through outside vendors.