The Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Verso Paper Corp. for safety violations following an explosion and fire that claimed the life of one employee and hospitalized four others in May.
An investigation from the state fire marshal determined that an overheated air compressor ignited in a tank, which eventually exploded.
OSHA cited Verso Paper for two safety violations, one for lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources and the second for a failure to conduct periodic inspections. The lockout issue was believed to have caused the fire on a paper machine that was undergoing maintenance.
Proposed fines total $39,200. Verso Paper agreed to pay the fine without contesting it.
These are major safety violations. Energy source lockout accidents are responsible for many worker injuries and deaths every year. The failure to inspect violation is particularly disturbing, because it is indicative of the culture of management at the facility. Without these inspections, who knows what else may be putting workers at risk?
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