The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited paper manufacturer Domtar Maine Corporation for 29 alleged serious violations of safety standards at its Baileyville, Maine, pulp mill and proposed a total of $107,000 in penalties.
"The conditions identified during this inspection must be addressed completely and effectively," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine. "Otherwise, anyone working in this mill in the future could be exposed to crushing hazards, falls, electrocution, being caught in moving machine parts, being overcome in a toxic or oxygen-deficient confined space, or being unable to safely exit the mill in an emergency."
The citations and fines encompass a cross-section of hazardous conditions found during an OSHA inspection opened on Nov. 30, 2008. These included numerous instances of unguarded moving machine parts; electrical hazards; fall hazards; an unmarked exit door and inadequately lit exit routes; confined space hazards; unsanitary eyewash facilities; work areas not maintained in clean and orderly condition; and no assessment of the workplace to determine what personal protective equipment workers would need.
In addition, employees were exposed to crushing, struck-by and other hazards from unenclosed counterweights on a conveyor and an improperly maintained conveyor emergency stop cable. 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.
Domtar Maine Corporation has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply and pay the penalties, participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.