Paper Mill Fined for Hazards Related to Employee's Death

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has fined Longview Fibre Co. $203,100 for four workplace-safety violations at its Longview, Wash., paper mill.

L&I initiated the investigation on Jan. 2 following the death of 38-year-old Mark Greenland, an employee who was caught inside a paper cutter when another employee inadvertently started it up.

The company was cited for three willful violations and one serious-repeat violation for violations of lockout/tagout procedures, required to protect workers from being caught in machinery that starts up unexpectedly. Citations were issued for failure to:

  • Establish and implement procedures for deactivating and locking out equipment to prevent unexpected start up of machinery, and train employees on those procedures.
  • Provide retraining when procedures change, equipment is modified or when employees are assigned new job duties.
  • Conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures.
  • Ensure that employees were following proper lockout procedures.

The investigation found a pattern of company disregard for known lock-out/tag-out safety procedures and training, as evidenced by an injury in 1998 and a near miss in 1999. Both incidents occurred on the same paper machine as the fatal injury in January. The company has been cited in the past for 11 serious violations related to lock-out/tag-out procedures.

Serious violations are those where there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from an existing condition, and willful is cited when the department finds an employer intentionally or knowingly violated rules or knew that a violation was occurring and was plainly indifferent to correcting it.

The company has 15 working days to appeal the citation.

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