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Hot steam burns worker at Maine paper mill (3/18)

March 18, 2011
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Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC of Lincoln, Maine has been fined @212,000 for repeat and serious safety violations at its Lincoln, Maine paper mill, following 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.

"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.”

OSHA found that the injury occurred because the company failed to block the steam line to prevent any potential release of steam or hot condensate. Lincoln Paper & Tissue had been cited 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. These conditions resulted in eight repeat citations.

OSHA also issued the company three serious citations 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.

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