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OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-70
Wed., May 2, 2001
Contact: Teresa Harrison
Phone: (912) 652-4393
OSHA FINES DURANGO-GEORGIA PAPER COMPANY $157,500 FOLLOWING AMPUTATION AT ST. MARYS, GA., MILL
Company was cited in August 2000 after similar accident
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Durango-Georgia Paper Co.Thurs., April 26, for the second time in eight months, and proposed penalties totaling $157,500, following a double amputation at the company's St. Marys facility.
The agency received a complaint after an employee's arms were caught and amputated in an unguarded paper machine on Nov.1. The worker remained trapped for more than 30 minutes before maintenance workers were able to free him. Last August, OSHA cited Durango after an employee's hand was crushed in a similar accident.
OSHA is proposing two willful violations with penalties of $140,000 for machine guarding and "lock-out/tag-out" hazards, according to Teresa Harrison, OSHA's Savannah area director. A willful violation is one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
"If the employer had heeded our concerns eight months ago regarding machine guarding and lockout/tagout, this tragic accident could have been avoided," said Harrison. "The company failed to lock out the machine to render it inoperable during maintenance."
Additional penalties of $17,500 are being proposed for three serious safety violations: elevated platforms did not have guardrails to keep employees from falling; proper tools were not provided to employees to clean paper machine rollers; and employees were not trained in lockout/tagout procedures to make machinery inoperable during maintenance and repair.
OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company, a subsidiary of Mexico-based Corporation Durango, has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The earlier citations were contested and are now before the Review Commission.
Corporation Durango has approximately 3000 employees, with about 1200 at the St. Marys site.
The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Savannah area office located at 450 Mall Boulevard, Suite J, Savannah, Ga., 31406; telephone: (912) 652-4393.
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