A New York paper manufacturer exposed its workers to falls, electrical hazards and combustible dust, according to OSHA, which has fined Burrows Paper Corp. $298,100 for safety violations found at two of the company’s work sites.
"The proposed fines reflect both the gravity of the cited hazards and the employer's refusal to use required safeguards," said Chris Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "Workers could have been injured in falls, electrocuted or suffered other injuries because of the employer's repeated failure to ensure a safe workplace."
The inspections were initiated as part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting inspection plan and conducted because the company's injury and illness rates exceeded national incident rates for 2009 and 2010.
Burrows is a Little Falls, NY-based food grade paper and packaging manufacturer that has five paper machines in four mills located in New York and Mississippi. It employs approximately 700 workers.
During the inspection of the company's Mohawk Valley Mill at 489 West Main St., OSHA inspectors found three serious safety violations for stairways that lacked railings; papermaking machines that lacked guarding to prevent employee contact with their moving parts; and an electrical hazard related to the use of electrical equipment not approved for the location. Additionally, inspectors identified six repeat violations for safety hazards related to falls, lack of eyewash stations and additional machine guarding and electrical hazards.
The inspection of the East Mill at 730 E. Mill St. found two serious safety violations for exposure to combustible paper dust, electrical issues and a malfunctioning exit light. Additionally, it identified found four repeat safety violations for machines with insufficient guarding.
OSHA had previously cited Burrows in 2010 and 2011 for similar hazards at locations in Little Falls and Lyons Falls.