Region 1 News Release: BOS 99-207
Monday, November 8, 1999
Contact: John M. Chavez
PHONE: (617) 565-2075
PAPERTECH CORP. OF CONTOOCOOK, NEW HAMPSHIRE, CITED BY OSHA FOR ALLEGED WORKPLACE SAFETY & HEALTH VIOLATIONS; OVER $48,000 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has cited Papertech Corporation of Contoocook, New Hampshire, for alleged SERIOUS, REPEAT and OTHER violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and has proposed penalties totaling $48,081 for those alleged violations.
According to David May, OSHA area director for New Hampshire, the citations are the result of simultaneous safety and health inspections of the company's facilities at 1966 Maple St., Rt. 127 in Contoocook, which were conducted between August 11 and September 21, 1999. The company is a paper mill in the business of processing recycled paper. May noted that these inspections were conducted under the agency's site specific targeting program which focuses on companies with high injury and illness rates. Under the targeting program, the lost workday injury and illness rate which would trigger an inspection is 16.0 per hundred workers; Papertech had a rate well above that.
"What we found," said May, "were employees being exposed to a variety of workplace hazards ranging from wet and slippery work areas, to unguarded moving machine parts, to the use of unsafe forklift trucks, to lack of proper eyewash facilities where caustic chemicals were being used. Especially disturbing is the fact that this employer has been cited for many of these violations before, which is why several of them are categorized as repeat violations. There is simply no excuse for this."
Specifically, he noted, the company is being cited for the following alleged violations:
- Four alleged SERIOUS violations, including proposed penalties totaling $6,206 for: failing to maintain floors of workrooms in a dry condition and failing to maintain drainage where wet processes were used; failing to guard rotating machine parts; failing to enclose the inclined rotating shaft of a mixer unit; and failing to place guards on dryer gears.
- Four alleged REPEAT violations, carrying proposed penalties totaling $40,000 for: allowing use of a forklift truck with a defective tire and failing to examine all forklift trucks daily before placing them in service; unguarded rotating shaft end, unguarded revolving couplings and unguarded horizontal shaft; unguarded pulley and unguarded drive belt; and, lastly, unguarded in-going nip points on calendar rolls. [The company was previously cited for similar violations in citations issued on 6/26/97 with respect to a workplace located at Route 127, W. Hopkinton, NH.]
- One alleged SERIOUS violation including a proposed penalty of $1,875 for failing to provide adequate and suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body in areas where employees were exposed to injurious corrosive materials.
- Nine alleged OTHER-THAN-SERIOUS violations with no proposed penalties for: failing to document training given to employees in personal protective equipment use and maintenance; failing to remove from service a forklift truck which was producing high levels of carbon monoxide in its exhaust; five alleged violations relating to limiting potential employee occupational exposure to blood borne pathogens; failing to ensure that each container of hazardous chemicals in the workplace was properly labeled as to contents, and labeled as to the hazard presented by their contents.
May urged New Hampshire employers and employees with questions regarding safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area office in Concord. He added that OSHA's toll-free nationwide hotline -- 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742) -- may be used to report workplace accidents and fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially those situations which occur outside of normal business hours.
A serious violation is defined as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
A repeat violation is defined by OSHA as one where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation is found.
An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate impact on the safety and health of employees.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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