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10-474-CHI
April 19, 2010
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone: 312-353-6976
E-mail: allen.scott@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA fines American Packaging Corp. in Columbus, Wis., following investigation into worker's death

COLUMBUS, Wis. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Packaging Corp. in Columbus with 29 alleged serious violations of federal workplace health and safety standards following an investigation into a worker's death.

OSHA began its inspection in October 2009 after learning from the company that a maintenance technician was killed during an explosion at the plant. Flammable vapors were present when the worker was using a grinder to cut off a bolt while installing a metal floor threshold.

American Packaging has been cited with 26 serious health violations and fined $108,450. Some of these violations include failing to provide safe work practice procedures for hot work in a confined space, failing to properly train workers in procedures to safely maintain equipment, the lack of a proper emergency response plan, the lack of procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services, not having appropriate personal protective equipment for workers, the absence of lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources and various process safety management deficiencies.

The company also has been cited with three serious safety violations with $18,900 in proposed penalties for failing to take adequate precautions to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors, to prevent cutting operations in the presence of explosive atmospheres and to maintain safe handling of equipment in cutting operations.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

"These types of violations show the company's disregard for the safety and welfare of its employees," said OSHA Area Director Kim Stille in Madison, Wis. "Those who ignore safe practices and OSHA regulations are inviting tragedy into the lives of their workers."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and the $127,350 in proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.

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 assure 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 releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


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