Maine Paper Mill Fined $212,000 Following Worker's Burning

Regarding the injury, OSHA found that the company failed to block the steam line to prevent any potential release of steam or hot condensate.

OSHA has cited Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards at its Lincoln, Maine, paper mill and proposed a total of $212,000 in fines, chiefly for recurring hazards. OSHA's enforcement action follows a September 2010 incident in which a mill employee was burned when hot steam and condensate burst out of the end of a high-pressure steam line during the mill's annual maintenance shutdown.

"The sizable fines proposed reflect not only the severity of the hazards found here but also the fact that several of these conditions are similar to hazards cited and corrected following our 2008 inspection of the mill," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine. "Abating a hazard but allowing it to recur puts employees at risk anew from conditions that should not have existed in the first place. They must be corrected promptly, fully and permanently for the safety of the mill's workers."

Regarding the injury, OSHA found that the company failed to block the steam line to prevent any potential release of steam or hot condensate. OSHA had cited the mill in March 2008 for a similar hazard. Other recurring conditions include not covering hot condensate lines with insulating materials; unguarded open-sided work platforms; not verifying that electrical equipment parts had been de-energized before employees worked on them; unguarded rotating paper spool ends, fan blades and floor holes; and failure to clean up wood debris and wood dust. Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to serious injury from potential burns, falls, fires, electrocution, lacerations, amputations, or being caught in moving machinery. OSHA issued the company eight repeat citations, with $196,500 in fines, for these conditions.

OSHA also issued the company three serious citations with $15,500 in fines for inadequate energy isolation devices; not maintaining flame resistant clothing in a safe and reliable condition; and employees' unfamiliarity with safety-related electrical work practices.

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