Worker burned, company hit with $185,560 in fines
Packaging Corporation of America has history of worker injuries, fatalities
A double worker fatality in 2012 and a triple fatality in 2008 did not result in the abatement of hazards at Packaging Corporation of America facilities; seven of the 30 citations issued recently after a worker was injured on the job were for repeat violations.
In the latest incident, which occurred in March at the company’s pulp and paper mill in Tomahawk, Wisc., a worker was severely burned while attempting to relight a steam boiler in the plant.
"Past explosions arising from similar hazards by this employer have led to tragic incidents. In this case, failing to prevent the ignition of flammable vapors and provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment is another preventable misstep that has led to serious injuries," said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton.
In 2012, a steam and ash release triggered by fly ash at the Tomahawk plant fatally injured two contractors. In 2008, three workers were killed and another injured during an explosion in the storage area.
OSHA’s investigation resulted in repeat safety violations that include:
- lack of machine guarding
- not providing a suitable eyewash station for workers exposed to corrosive substances
- electrical safety hazards, such as legibly marking circuit breakers
- using compressed air at greater than 30 pounds per square inch for cleaning purposes, and
- improperly labeling containers of hazardous materials
The same violations have been cited at the company's other U.S. locations.
Among the company’s 17 serious safety violations:
- inadequate precautions to prevent ignition of flammable vapors and require usage of appropriate personal protective equipment to protect against burns
- inadequate or lack of adequate guarding on wall openings, floor holes and open-sided platforms
- lack of machine guarding on various pieces of equipment, including planers, saws and shafts
- lack of machine warning lights, and
- improperly stored oxygen and gas cylinders
Additionally, six other-than-serious citations were issued for:
- poor housekeeping
- not marking confined spaces with signage
- failing to post load capacities of storage areas
- not labeling web sling capacity and failing to have individuals identified on lockout devices
Proposed penalties total $185,560.
Forty-six violations have been cited nationwide in the past five years; the Tomahawk mill accounts for six of those violations, which stemmed from the 2008 incident, and one violation in 2012.
The company, which is based in Lake Forest, Ill. and manufactures paper and cardboard boxes, employs 440 workers at the Tomahawk facility and 8,700 corporate-wide at facilities in 30 states.
The current citations may be viewed at www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Packaging_Corporation_of_America_893779_090413.pdf*