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October 11, 2010

Norampac Industries Inc. has received citations and a $70,000 fine from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after the death of a worker at its Niagara Falls, NY paper mill.

On May 12, 2010, a worker at the company’s paper mill became caught between a fixed metal barrier and a large paper roll that was moving on a conveyor, crushing the worker to death. The Niagra Gazette identifies the worker as Peter Neville, 40, husband and father of 3 children. After an investigation, OSHA issued Norampac repeat and serious safety violations.

"Our inspection found that the area where the moving paper roll and the barrier intersected lacked guarding to prevent employees from being caught between the two objects," Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo said in a release. "Proper and effective machine guarding is essential to protecting workers against serious injury or death."

The OSHA inspectors also found Norampac employees working under hazardous conditions, including lack of eye and face protection for workers performing voltage testing on live electrical circuits; unmarked and painted-over electrical disconnects; and not ensuring that confined space entry supervisors could verify that rescue services were available and able to be contacted in the event of a confined space emergency.

OSHA issued two repeat citations with $70,000 in proposed fines for the lack of machine guarding that resulted in Neville ‘s death, and lack of eye and face protection. The repeat citations stem from violations found in 2009 for similar hazards at the company’s Thompson, CT manufacturing plant. The agency also issued two serious citations with $5,000 in fines for the remaining items.

A serious citation is warranted when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

"One means of eliminating hazards such as these is for employers to establish an illness and injury prevention program in which workers and management jointly work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

Norampac has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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