N.Y. paper mill cited for 33 safety and health violations

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Burrows Paper Corporation for 33 alleged violations of workplace health and safety standards after a worker sustained serious arm injuries following being partially pulled into the roller of a paper machine at the company's Little Falls, N.Y., paper mill on April 28. The paper manufacturer faces a total of $136,500 in proposed fines.

OSHA's inspection found that the roller had not been guarded against contact, and the machine's power source had not been locked out to prevent contact with moving parts while the worker was cleaning paper off the rolls. OSHA identified several other instances of unguarded machinery, fall hazards, a locked exit, a blocked exit access, uninspected and untested lifting equipment, improper storage of compressed gas cylinders, electrical hazards, a failure to monitor employees for chromium hazards, an inadequate hearing conservation program and several deficiencies with the mill's confined space entry program.

"These conditions, which exposed the mill's workers to risk of lacerations, amputation, crushing injuries, falls, electrocution and burns, as well as injuries due to being unable to swiftly exit the mill in the event of a fire or other emergency, must be addressed completely and effectively to protect safety and health," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse.

OSHA has issued the company two repeat citations for the unguarded roller and for unguarded open-sided work platforms, as it had cited the employer in January 2008 for similar hazards at another worksite. In addition, the mill has been issued 29 serious citations for the remaining hazards, and two other-than-serious citations for incomplete illness and injury reporting and not posting a copy of OSHA's noise standard. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

"One means of preventing accidents and injuries is through an effective safety and health management system in which employers and employees work together to proactively evaluate, identify and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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