Paper mill fined $227K for willfully violating safety standards, leading to worker’s fatal electrocution

April 21, 2023
The investigation began after a worker suffered a fatal electrocution after attempting to fix a conveyor belt on a sheeter machine.

An OSHA investigation has found that South Coast Paper LLC willfully violated safety standards and has proposed penalties of $227,040. The investigation began after a worker suffered a fatal electrocution after attempting to fix a conveyor belt on a sheeter machine. The worker and his team failed to deenergize the machine while attempting to replace the motor. A hot wire made contact with the ground, energizing the machine, and when the worker grabbed a metal rail connected to the conveyor system, he was electrocuted. OSHA cited South Coast Paper for allowing employees to perform maintenance on machinery without having hazardous energy control procedures in place, as well as allowing workers to perform maintenance without being properly trained and a lack of machine guarding.

In a recent quote, OSHA Area Office Director Jose Gonzalez said, "There is no reason to perform maintenance on machinery without first taking all steps to de-energize that piece of equipment. Doing otherwise places workers at serious risk for injury and death. South Coast Paper's failure to follow established safety procedures cost this worker their life and has left family, friends and co-workers to mourn."

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