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Region 4 News Release
Release Number: USDL 04-97-ATL (21)
Thurs., Feb. 5, 2004
Contact: John Vos Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (912) 652-4393 (404) 562-2076
Agency Proposes $102,000 in Penalties
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the Georgia Pacific Corporation for failing to protect workers from safety hazards that contributed to the death of an employee at the company's Cedar Springs, Ga., paper products plant.
"Recognizing hazards and providing adequate safeguards are essential for employers to protect their workers," said U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "The $102,000 in significant penalties proposed in this case demonstrates that this Administration is committed to protecting workers' health and safety."
According to OSHA's investigation, an employee was clearing paper from an operating conveyor on Aug. 5, when the worker apparently fell onto the conveyor and was thrown into an operating "beater pit," where paper was being shredded.
The company was cited for failing to provide guardrails or other means of fall protection to prevent employees from falling into the pit and for failing to conduct required reviews of procedures for rendering machinery inoperable during maintenance or repair.
The agency issued 18 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $52,000 and four repeat citations with $50,000 in proposed penalties. These citations included failing to protect workers from unguarded machinery and electrical hazards.
The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The worksite was inspected by staff from OSHA's Savannah area office located at 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite J; phone: (912) 652-4393.
The agency issues serious citations when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. Repeat citations are issued when the employer had been cited previously for substantially similar conditions and the citations have become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. In fiscal year 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, and more than half focused on high-hazard industries. For more information visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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