The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Norampac Industries Inc. repeat and serious safety violations following the May 12 death of a worker at its Niagara Falls, N.Y., paper mill. The worker was crushed when he became caught between a fixed metal barrier and a large paper roll that was moving on a conveyor.
"Our inspection found that the area where the moving paper roll and the barrier intersected lacked guarding to prevent employees from being caught between the two objects," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "Proper and effective machine guarding is essential to protecting workers against serious injury or death."
OSHA also identified other hazardous conditions that were not related to the fatality. These included lack of eye and face protection for workers performing voltage testing on live electrical circuits; unmarked and painted-over electrical disconnects; and not ensuring that confined space entry supervisors could verify that rescue services were available and able to be contacted in the event of a confined space emergency.
As a result of its inspection, OSHA issued the company two repeat citations with $70,000 in proposed fines for lacking machine guarding and eye and face protection. The repeat citations stem from violations found in 2009 for similar hazards at the company's Thompson, Conn., manufacturing plant.
Two serious citations with $5,000 in fines were issued for the remaining items. 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 eliminating hazards such as these is for employers to establish an illness and injury prevention program in which workers and management jointly work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Norampac has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.