In May, an employee working at a paper mill in Niagra Falls, New York, was killed. Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration concluded that his death was the result of the paper mill's failure to provide adequate safety mechanisms.
Norampac Industries owns the paper mill. The company faces more than $70,000 in fines related to multiple violations of safety regulations. These citations do not take the place of a wrongful death or workers' compensation lawsuit related to the employee's death. Instead, they provide validation that the company was responsible for the workers' death.
OSHA inspectors found four violations at the paper mill. Two of the violations were considered to be "repeat violations," and the other two are classified as "serious." The violations included:
- Failure to provide effective machine guarding
- Lack of eye and face protections
- Insufficient emergency policies for confined space entry
- Hidden electrical disconnects
These issues amount to serious health and safety hazards. Employees working the paper mill faced serious injury, and as we have seen, even death. The employer's unwillingness to provide a safe work environment led to one workers' wrongful death already. More than four months later, OSHA announced that the company had not yet resolved these serious problems.
The four violations carry $75,000 in proposed fines. Norampac Industries has until October 28 to respond to the citations. Hopefully, the company will finally be pushed to take the proper steps to protect employees from the serious hazards at this paper mill.
Source: OSHA Regional News Release, "US Labor Department's OSHA cites Niagra Falls, NY, paper mill after worker death," Ted Fitzgerald, 7 Oct 2010