OSHA Slaps Maine Paper Mill with Safety Citations

Proposed fines total $212,000.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC for alleged violations of safety standards at its Lincoln, Maine, paper mill. The action follows a September 2010 incident in which a mill employee was burned when hot steam and condensate burst from the end of a high-pressure steam line during the mills annual maintenance shutdown.

Proposed fines total $212,000.

OSHA says the size of the fines reflect not only the severity of the hazards, but also the fact that several of the conditions in the plant were similar to hazards cited and corrected following a 2008 inspection of the mill.

Abating a hazard but allowing it to recur puts employees at risk anew from conditions that should not have existed in the first place, said William Coffin, OSHA area director for Maine.

OSHA cited the paper mill for eight repeat violations. Fines for the alleged violations total $196,500. Among the repeat conditions OSHA reported were failure to block the steam line to prevent a potential release of steam or hot condensate; unguarded open-sided work platforms; and failure to clean up wood debris and wood dust.

Three serious citations also were issued with total fines of $15,500.

The company has 15 business days after receiving the citation to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings.

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