Nov. 3, 2008
Contact: Michael Wald
Agency investigation followed May explosion that killed an employee, injured 22 others
VICKSBURG, Miss. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited International Paper Co.'s Vicksburg Mill in Vicksburg for workplace safety violations following an investigation into the May explosion of a recovery boiler during a start-up where 23 employees were injured, one fatally.
"The fines reflect the company's failure to establish procedures for a re-start of the recovery boiler without the power boiler being on-line," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson, Miss. "Employees were exposed to a fire and explosion because the employer failed to develop written boiler set-up and operating procedures."
International Paper received one alleged willful and one serious violation. The willful violation is for failing to start the recovery boiler without adequate steam and not developing safe procedures to start up the recovery boiler when the primary power boiler is off-line. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The serious violation is for failing to have written procedures to determine that an adequate amount of odorant was being added to the natural gas supply line coming into the power plant. A serious violation is one that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
For these citations, OSHA is proposing $77,000 in penalties against the company.
International Paper, headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., is a paper and packaging manufacturer operating throughout the world. About 300 employees work at the Vicksburg site.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Jackson area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Jackson Area Office, telephone 601-965-4606.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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 www.osha.gov.
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