A 24-year-old temporary maintenance employee at International Paper Co. in Madison, OH, suffered severe burns that left him hospitalized and unable to work for more than four months.
After an investigation of the Sept. 12, incident, the paperboard mill lacked procedures for preventing workers from contacting operating and energized machinery parts, which resulted in three repeat and two serious safety violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Proposed penalties total $85,000.
“Workers should never conduct maintenance and trouble-shooting without first shutting down all electrical sources. Doing so can prevent severe injuries like those suffered by this worker,” said Brigitte Frank, OSHA’s acting area director in Cleveland. “International Paper has a responsibility to train and equip its employees properly.”
OSHA’s investigation found the worker, who had worked there for about nine months, had inadvertent contact with electrical equipment while performing end-of-shift cleanup in and around a printing and die-cutting machine. In 2013, more than 15,000 workers suffered injuries from thermal burns, such as electricity. Of those, 139 workers died from electrical injuries.
International Paper failed to implement and train workers in energy control procedures for machinery, resulting in three repeated violations. The company received citations for similar violations in July 2011 at a facility in Chicago.
OSHA issues repeated violations if an employer previously faced the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
Inspectors also noted two serious violations for exposing workers to operating machinery parts on conveyers, putting employees at risk for electrical shock and amputation injuries.
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.
Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, International Paper is a packaging and paper maker with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. Its businesses include industrial and consumer packaging and uncoated papers. With net sales of $29 billion in 2013, the company employs 65,000 people and is in more than 24 countries.