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OSHA says paper mill bypassed safety regulations

Posted On: Apr. 17, 2023 10:23 AM CST


Federal workplace safety inspectors examining how a 36-year-old worker was electrocuted in a Maplesville, Alabama, paper mill in September 2022 found his employer willfully violated safety standards by not stopping a machine while the man was replacing a conveyor belt.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Friday it cited South Coast Paper LLC for failure to de-energize machinery during maintenance, which led to the man’s death when he grabbed an energized metal rail connected to the conveyor system.

The agency also issued South Coast Paper a repeat violation citation for allowing workers to perform maintenance on machines without first being trained to make sure they possessed the knowledge and skills for safely applying, using and removing hazardous energy controls.

In addition, the agency cited South Coast Paper for lack of machine guarding and not providing clear access in front of a 480-volt breaker panel or training employees on electrical safe work practices.

OSHA cited the company in June 2022 for not de-energizing machinery at its Burlington, New Jersey, facility.