Paper Maker Contests Safety Fines

Monday, August 4, 2014 @ 06:08 PM gHale


Packaging Corporation of America is facing $111,650 in fines for eight, including five repeat, safety violations for failing to protect workers from amputation and other serious hazards at its Akron, OH, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

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.

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

OSHA initiated an inspection Jan. 21, after receiving a complaint that workers were reaching in to unjam machines without turning off the machinery. The complaint also said the company had workers standing on conveyor belts and operated forklifts without providing proper training.

“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.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company faced similar violations at its facilities in Opelika, AL, and Tomahawk, WI, in 2010, 2011 and 2013. The company faced over 100 violations nationwide in the past five years. OSHA last cited the company’s Tomahawk plant in March 2013 after a worker suffered severe burns while attempting to relight a steam boiler.

One serious violation cited involved lack of machine guarding. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. There were two other-than-serious violations.



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