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Region 1 News Release: 11-315-BOS/BOS 2011-090
March 16, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Department of Labor's OSHA proposes $212,000 in fines against
Lincoln, Maine, paper mill for recurring hazards following a worker injury
BANGOR, Maine – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards at its Lincoln, Maine, paper mill and proposed a total of $212,000 in fines, chiefly for recurring hazards. OSHA's enforcement action follows a September 2010 incident in which a mill employee was burned when hot steam and condensate burst out of the end of a high-pressure steam line during the mill's annual maintenance shutdown.
"The sizable fines proposed reflect not only the severity of the hazards found here but also the fact that several of these conditions are similar to hazards cited and corrected following our 2008 inspection of the mill," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine. "Abating a hazard but allowing it to recur puts employees at risk anew from conditions that should not have existed in the first place. They must be corrected promptly, fully and permanently for the safety of the mill's workers."
Regarding the injury, OSHA found that the company failed to block the steam line to prevent any potential release of steam or hot condensate. OSHA had cited the mill in March 2008 for a similar hazard. Other recurring conditions include not covering hot condensate lines with insulating materials; unguarded open-sided work platforms; not verifying that electrical equipment parts had been de-energized before employees worked on them; unguarded rotating paper spool ends, fan blades and floor holes; and failure to clean up wood debris and wood dust. Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to serious injury from potential burns, falls, fires, electrocution, lacerations, amputations or being caught in moving machinery. OSHA issued the company eight repeat citations, with $196,500 in fines, for these conditions. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
OSHA also issued the company three serious citations with $15,500 in fines for inadequate energy isolation devices; not maintaining flame resistant clothing in a safe and reliable condition; and employees' unfamiliarity with safety-related electrical work practices. OSHA issues a serious citation 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.
Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bangor District Office; telephone 207-941-8177. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (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 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.
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