Photo credit: NIOSH.gov

BANGOR, ME -- Columbia Forest Products Inc. of Greensboro, NC, was cited for 15 alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration resulting from the March 22 death of a worker at the company's mill in Presque Isle, ME.

The company faces a total of $119,500 in proposed fines.

OSHA reported that the worker died when he became caught in moving parts of a stacker. The machine activated while he was inside the machine performing maintenance.

OSHA's inspection found that the machine had not been turned off and its power source had not been locked out to prevent its unintended startup, as required under OSHA's hazardous energy control, or lockout/tagout, standard.

"This is exactly the type of incident this standard is intended to prevent. Had proper lockout/tagout procedures been used, this needless death could have been avoided," said William Coffin, OSHA's area director for Maine.

OSHA issued Columbia Forest Products one willful citation, with the maximum proposed penalty of $70,000, for failing to de-energize and lock out the stacker. The company also was issued 14 serious citations, with $49,500 in fines, for defective fork trucks, lack of access stairs, several machine guarding and electrical hazards, and additional lockout/tagout hazards.

Columbia Forest Products Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Read the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's press release.

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