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Ohio workers unjammed still-running machines

Company culture “does not value safety”

OSHA Enforcement ActivityPackaging Corporation of America has been cited by OSHA for eight — including five repeat — safety violations for failing to protect workers from amputation and other serious hazards. OSHA initiated an inspection Jan. 21, 2014, after receiving a complaint that workers were reaching in to unjam machines without turning off the machinery. The complaint also alleged that the company had workers standing on conveyor belts and operated forklifts without providing proper training. OSHA has proposed penalties of $111,650 for the company's Akron plant.

Second time

"This is the second time in two years an inspection at one of Packaging Corporation of America's facilities has found significant safety violations. What is happening at the plant demonstrates a company culture that does not value safety and puts employees at risk each day," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland.

OSHA issued five repeat violations, including a lack of specific lockout/tagout procedures and machine guarding, failing to develop procedures to control hazardous energy and inadequate forklift training.Similar violations were cited at the company's facilities in Opelika, Alabama, and Tomahawk, Wisconsin, in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

100+ violations in five years

More than 100 violations have been cited at Packaging Corporation of America's facilities nationwide in the past five years. OSHA last cited the company's Tomahawk plant in March 2013 after a worker was severely burned while attempting to relight a steam boiler.

One serious violation cited involved lack of machine guarding.

A "golden rule" culture"?

"When you choose Packaging Corporation of America, you work with people who operate in a 'golden rule' environment," claims the company's website.

Manufacturing industry hazards

Each year more than 500,000 injuries are reported in the manufacturing industry. Many of these injuries involve inadequate guards for machines and failing to shut machines down before maintenance, which exposes workers to severe risk when they reach in and touch moving parts. Lack of adequate machine guarding continues to be one of the most frequently cited OSHA violations.

Company is fighting citations

Based in Lake Forest, Illinois, Packaging Corporation of America manufactures paper and cardboard boxes. The company employs 37 workers at the Akron facility and 13,000 corporatewide at facilities in 30 states.

Packaging Corporation of America has contested the citations and proposed penalties. The case will now go before an independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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