New York Paper Mill Faces $116,250 OSHA Fine

June 4, 2008
OSHA cited Brownville Specialty Paper Products Inc. for 35 alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards following the death of an employee at its Brownville, N.Y.-based plant. The company currently faces $116, 250 in fines.

The employee was fatally crushed on Dec. 5, 2007, by two large rolls of paper that rolled out of a rewinding machine. The paper rolls weighed approximately 2,500 pounds.

OSHA's inspection found that the machine's barrier guard was not interlocked with its drive mechanism to prevent the rolls from being ejected during rewinding operations. The agency asserted that the company knew of the hazard but did not correct it.

"This accident could have been prevented had this machine been properly guarded against this hazard," said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "This case illustrates in the starkest possible terms why effective safeguards are necessary to prevent death and injury on the job."

OSHA's inspection also identified hazards involving:

  • Blocked and obstructed emergency exit routes;
  • Fall hazards from unguarded stairways and work platforms, ladder deficiencies, lack of safety belts and lifelines and an emergency exit opening onto an unguarded 30-foot-high landing;
  • Various unguarded moving machine parts;
  • Improper compressed gas storage;
  • Uninspected lifting equipment;
  • Several electrical hazards;
  • Respirator safety deficiencies;
  • Inadequate hearing protection;
  • No emergency response plan or training for liquid chlorine spills;
  • Lack of training for employees entering confined spaces;
  • Unlabeled steam pipes and chlorine lines; and
  • Incomplete energy control procedures to prevent the unintended startup of machinery.

In a press release issued by Brownville Specialty Paper, company officials claimed there have never been "willful actions where we would have knowingly placed one of our valued team members at risk."

"We have cooperated with OSHA to the best of our ability at all levels of our organization, at all times," the statement read. "We will continue to strive to operate the safest possible work environment."

Brownville Specialty Paper Products Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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