OSHA: Wisconsin Paper Mill Worker’s Death was ‘Preventable’ Thinkstock

OSHA: Wisconsin Paper Mill Worker’s Death was ‘Preventable’

A 46-year-old man was killed because his employer did not ensure that the equipment on which he was working was powered down and locked out, OSHA says.

A machine operator was killed while servicing a high-speed conveyor belt at a Clearwater Paper mill in Ladysmith, Wis. His death, OSHA says, was “preventable.”

The 46-year-old-man was killed in October 2015 because his employer did not ensure that the equipment on which he was working was powered down and locked out, OSHA said.

"Workers at the Clearwater Paper mill were exposed to dangerous machine hazards on a daily basis because their employer failed to properly prevent contact with operating machinery," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire.

"This man's death is tragic and was preventable. Despite incidents like this one, machine hazards continue to be one of the most frequently cited federal worker safety violations. It takes just minutes to stop and put safety first."

OSHA on April 21 cited Cellu Tissue-City Forest LLC, which operates the Clearwater Paper-Ladysmith mill, for one willful, one repeat and two serious safety violations. OSHA in 2012 cited Cellu for inadequate machine safety procedures at the same mill.

During an Oct. 27, 2015, inspection, investigators found that mill employees often work under high-speed conveyors and sheet-fork sections of the wet-lap machine while in production mode. Such actions leave employees exposed to machines pulling them in or striking them.

Spokane, Wash.-based Clearwater Paper Corp. operates the Ladysmith mill, employs about 81 workers and produces more than 40,000 tons of paper each year that is used as paper towels, napkins, bath tissue and facial tissue.

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