Safety Issues Found at Paper Mill

Friday, May 30, 2014 @ 02:05 PM gHale

Flambeau River Papers is facing fines of $42,300 for eight violations of failing to protect workers from hazards associated with exposure to sulfur dioxide at the Park Falls, WI, paper mill, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Sulfur dioxide sees use in treating wood pulp for paper manufacturing and can cause numerous adverse effects to the respiratory tract when vapors end up inhaled.

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“Companies, such as Flambeau River Papers that uses hazardous chemicals in its manufacturing process, have a responsibility to train their employees in the hazards associated with exposure to chemicals, such as sulfur dioxide,” said Mark Hysell, OSHA’s area director in Eau Claire, WI. “The severe health effects of hazardous chemicals are completely preventable with proper training and protection, which Flambeau River Papers failed to provide to employees.”

OSHA opened the inspection Jan. 30 under the National Emphasis Program for chemicals and cited Flambeau River Papers for seven serious violations.

Six of those violations involve OSHA’s process safety management standards, which contain requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals. Those violations involved failing to document safe operating limits and to comply with good engineering practices for equipment, and for failing to implement a mechanical integrity program. Another serious violation was for failing to conduct an annual audit of the lockout/tagout procedures at the facility.

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.

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