Cheney Pulp and Paper Co. cited by US Labor Department's OSHA
after worker fatally injured at Franklin, Ohio, paper mill
Company placed in Severe Violator Enforcement Program
FRANKLIN, Ohio – Cheney Pulp and Paper Co. has been cited for two safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a worker was fatally injured July 23 at the Franklin paper mill. While operating a forklift without the rollover protection structure, the worker was struck by an operating machine that he traveled beneath. As a result of the inspection, OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"This was a terrible, preventable tragedy that underscores the importance of OSHA's standards. Employers are required to use equipment in accordance with manufacturer's specifications and ensure adequate guarding to prevent contact with operating machinery," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. "Employers are responsible for identifying hazards and ensuring workers follow proper procedures to prevent injury or death."
One willful violation involved failing to have adequate machine guarding on the rotary digester, which would have prevented the worker from coming into contact with machinery operating parts. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for, or plain indifference to, employee safety and health.
One serious violation involves modifying a skid-steer loader by removing the rollover protective structure without manufacturer approval. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Proposed fines total $77,000. Due to the nature and severity of violations, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The agency's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
Cheney Pulp and Paper Co. manufactures pulp for the paper industry and employs approximately 35 workers. OSHA inspected the facility in 2010, which resulted in 27 violations. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If a company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Cincinnati Area Office at 513-841-4132.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.