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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 06-1674-ATL (208)
Date: October 3, 2006
Contact: John Deifer Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (912) 652-4393 (404) 562-2076

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA Cites Georgia-Pacific for Safety Hazards Following Fatality at Cedar Springs, Ga., Paper Mill

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Georgia-Pacific after a worker was killed in a Cedar Springs, Ga., paper-mill accident. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $63,000.

"This case demonstrates the need for continuous vigilance to ensure that existing protective systems are maintained to keep employees safe," said John J. Deifer, OSHA's Savannah, Ga., area director.

On April 10, a Georgia-Pacific employee was assigned to weld pinholes on the outside of a pressurized metal tank. Two other employees, standing on catwalks above and below the welder, served as fire watchmen. During the welding operation, a vacuum-pressure relief device discharged steam and paper stock, causing one watchman to fall 30 feet.

OSHA issued four serious citations and proposed $28,000 in penalties for safety hazards directly related to the accident. Investigators found that a rusted, loose and improperly anchored catwalk guardrail system gave way when steam pushed the worker against it. OSHA also issued citations for inadequately written procedures for assuring that equipment was rendered inoperable while employees performed welding operations; failure to locate pressure-relief devices, so they vented away from employees; and failure to assure that input valves were closed and locked before welding began.

The company also received one repeat citation with a proposed penalty of $35,000 for failing to ensure that employees were familiar with and adequately trained on the lockout procedures for the tank.

The Atlanta-based company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Savannah area office located at 450 Mall Blvd., Suite J, phone (912) 652-4393.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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