The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Packaging Corporation of America in Milwaukee with $96,500 in proposed penalties for alleged serious and willful violations of federal workplace safety standards.
As a result of an October 2009 inspection, OSHA has issued the company one willful violation, with a proposed penalty of $70,000, for failing to provide adequate personal protection equipment to workers responding to a caustic solution spill. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
OSHA also has issued the company six serious citations with proposed penalties of $26,500. Some of the violations include failing to provide proper employee training for a caustic solution spill, implement decontamination procedures for a caustic spill and implement an emergency response plan. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
"There is no excuse for a company that deals with caustic material not to have proper protective equipment and procedures in place to protect its workers," said OSHA area director George Yoksas in Milwaukee. "Those who ignore safe practices and OSHA regulations are inviting tragedy into the lives of their workers."
The Packaging Corporation of America plant in Milwaukee manufactures corrugated and solid fiber boxes. It has been inspected by OSHA more than 40 times and received in excess of 90 citations in the past 10 years, including an inspection that was the result of an accident in Tomahawk, Wis., where three workers were killed in an explosion.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its latest citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.