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Paperboard mill faces $357,000 in penalties for unsafe work conditions

Posted On: Aug. 17, 2017 11:24 AM CST

Paperboard mill faces $357,000 in penalties for unsafe work conditions

A New York paperboard mill is facing $357,445 in proposed penalties from federal workplace safety regulators for exposing workers to 61 safety and health hazards.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspected Carthage, New York-based Carthage Specialty Paperboard Inc. in December 2016 after receiving a complaint alleging unsafe working conditions, according to a press release issued by the agency on Wednesday. Inspectors discovered employees exposed to serious safety hazards, including more than 20 instances of machinery lacking safety guards to prevent employees from the risk of amputation.

Mill machines did not have safety locks to prevent the accidental start-up of machinery during maintenance and employees did not receive required training or personal protective equipment to work on electrical systems with up to 2,300 volts, according to the press release. Metal catwalks did not have restraints to help protect employees from falls as high as 13 feet. Employees also entered confined spaces without prior atmospheric testing or a rescue method if they became overcome by fumes. 

“The violations found during this investigation put employees at serious risk of injury or even worse,” OSHA Area Director Christopher Adams in Syracuse, New York, said in a 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.”

The company has notified OSHA of its intent to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, according to OSHA.

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.