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OSHA, Carthage Specialty Paperboard Reach Settlement

The Carthage, NY-based milling company was cited for 62 safety and health violations in June 2017.

Carthage Specialty Paperboard Inc. has agreed to pay $175,000 in penalties and correct dozens of safety violations after contesting OSHA’s findings following an inspection.

The agency discovered 62 health and safety violations at the company’s Carthage, NY facility and proposed $357,445 in fines. Carthage Specialty immediately challenged the citations.

“The violations found during this investigation put employees at serious risk of injury or even worse,” said OSHA Area Director Christopher Adams in a previous statement. “This is a significant number of hazards for a single workplace. Carthage Specialty Paperboard must implement corrective measures to protect their employees’ safety and health.”

OSHA began an investigation in response to a 2016 complaint that alleged workers were exposed to various hazards.  

Inspectors found more than 20 instances of machinery lacking safety guards to prevent amputations. In addition, the machinery in the mill did not have safety locks to prevent the accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance, and workers did not receive required training or personal protective equipment (PPE) to work on electrical systems with up to 2,300 volts.

Citations for exposing workers to struck-by hazards when the company failed to inspect cranes and hoists also were issued. Employees also entered confined spaces without prior atmospheric testing, or means to rescue persons overcome by fumes.

In addition to paying $175,000 in fines, the settlement requires Carthage Specialty to enhance efforts to prevent hazards associated with machine guarding, lack of fall protection, hazardous energy control, confined space entry, emergency response as well as electrical and structural safety issues.

“This settlement confirms that the company acknowledges the necessity of improving safety and health practices, as well as fostering a culture that supports safety among employees,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Robert D. Kulick in a statement.

United Steel Workers (USW) and USW Local 276, which are third-parties to the case, also signed the agreement, according to OSHA.

“This resolution reinforces the critical importance of the company’s planning for workers’ safety and health and making it an essential part of the mill’s day-to-day operations,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in a statement.

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