OSHA ruled that the death of an employee at International Paper Co.'s Ticonderoga plant was preventable.
The 57-year-old general mechanic died after receiving severe burns when the fly ash from a dust collector ignited as he was removing burned filter bags. His death could have been prevented had International Paper provided him with proper safeguards and training, OSHA said.
The paper manufacturer did not provide the employee with the necessary fire-resistant clothing and didn’t train him and other employees on the specific physical hazards of combustible fly ash, OSHA said.
The system for collecting fly ash was deficient, and the procedures for isolating the dust conveyor system's power source during maintenance activities were incomplete, OSHA said.
“This worker's death was preventable. International Paper knew of these hazards and deficiencies and did not address them,” said Kim Castillon, OSHA's area director in Albany. “While nothing can return this man to his daughter and coworkers, the company can and must take prompt and effective steps to ensure that this never happens again.”
OSHA on July 22 cited International Paper for two willful, one repeated and three serious violations of workplace safety standards, assessed fines of $211,000, and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.