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Region 4 News Release: USDL: 99-75
Monday, May 10, 1999
Contact: Raymond Finney
PHONE : (770) 493-6644
GEORGIA PACIFIC CITED AND FINED $144,500 FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT MONTICELLO, GA., PLANT
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today cited Georgia Pacific Inc. Panelboard Division of Monticello, Ga. The citations carry penalties totaling $144,500 for safety violations found during an inspection of the plant.
According to Raymond Finney, OSHA's Atlanta-East area director, inspections began at the facility in response to a complaint about an explosion which injured one worker.
The safety inspection revealed 13 serious violations with total proposed penalties of $44,500. Among the hazards cited were:
the fire detection alarm was not working and the sprinkler system was not properly maintained;
the boiler was not vented to the outdoors and its pressure relief valve was not vented from the work area;
employees were exposed to live electrical parts;
there was inadequate electrical grounding bond when dispensing flammable liquids;
hazardous liquids were stored in the building in quantities greater than the maximum allowable 120 gallons;
employees were exposed to unguarded horizontal shafts on the upper oven levels;
electrical equipment was not properly maintained to protect against dust explosions and fire hazards;
the path to ground was not permanent and continuous in several areas of the plant;
open holes were not plugged in electrical cabinets and junction boxes, and
employees were exposed to various electrical hazards.
Also cited as serious were deficiencies involving "lockout" devices which are used to assure that machinery remains inoperable during repair and maintenance.
In addition to the serious hazards, OSHA cited Georgia Pacific for six repeat violations with proposed penalties totaling $100,000. The repeat violations included missing guard rails, no written "lockout" procedures, unguarded machinery, unguarded belts and pulleys and unguarded chain and sprockets.
"We encourage the company to create an effective safety and health program," said Finney. "The company can save more than just OSHA penalties if they will find and fix hazards prior to an OSHA inspection. Taking proactive measures on safety and health issues can reduce workers' compensation costs, improve employee morale, and ultimately increase company profits."
A separate health inspection conducted at the site resulted in a serious citation for violation of confined space standards and employee exposures to formaldehyde. Issued immediately to minimize worker exposure, the citations were settled and the company agreed to abate the hazards.
OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which 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 violations occur when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Georgia Pacific employs 180 workers at the Monticello plant and over 46,000 nationwide. The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspections of the worksite were conducted by OSHA's area office located at LaVista Perimeter Office Park, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga. 30084-4154; telephone: (770) 493-6644.
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