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09-746-NEW/BOS 2009-198
Mon., July 6, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA cites Fort Edward, N.Y., paper recycler for failing to correct machine guarding hazards

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Kara Fibers Inc. of Fort Edward, N.Y., for failing to correct hazards cited during an earlier OSHA inspection and for additional alleged violations of workplace safety standards. The paper recycling company faces a total of $61,600 in proposed fines.

"Hazardous conditions such as these must be promptly and effectively corrected," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "Failing to do so leaves employees exposed to potential amputation and burn hazards."

In September 2008, OSHA cited the company for machine guarding violations and other hazards. A follow-up inspection by OSHA found that the machine guarding hazards remained uncorrected. As a result, OSHA has issued the company a failure to abate notice with a proposed fine of $60,000.

The follow-up inspection also identified blocked exit routes and the lack of an energy control program. These conditions resulted in the issuance of two serious citations, with $1,600 in proposed fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

"One of the best means of preventing new and recurring workplace hazards is to establish and maintain an effective safety and health management system through which management and employees work together to actively identify, analyze and eliminate work-related hazards," said Jerome.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Albany or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.