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Management Side
WestRock facility receives citations, penalty of $29,004

NORTH CAROLINA (From news reports) -- WestRock Kraft Paper LLC at 100 Gaston Road in Roanoke Rapids received citations by the N.C. Department of Labor as a result of the department's occupational safety and health inspection that began Aug. 26.

According to a press release received Monday by Erin Wilson, director of communications for the N.C. Department of Labor, WestRock Kraft Paper LLC was cited with two alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina with a total penalty of $29,004.

The following lists the Citation and Notification of Penalty:

Citation 01 Item 001

Type of Violation: Serious

• 29 CFR 1910.147©(4)(ii)(D): The energy control procedures did not clearly and specifically outline the requirements for testing a machine or equipment to determine and verify the effectiveness of lockout devices, tagout devices, and other energy control measures:

a) 2nd dryer section, Gould CV 3196 condensate pump -- employees performed pump replacement and the energy control procedure(s) did not include specific requirements for testing the equipment and verifying the energy control measures had adequately relieved all the pressure.

On or about Aug. 25, 2022, employees were in the process of replacing the condensate pump and closed the inlet and outlet valves to isolate the pump from the system.

After turning the valves, condensate leaked back into the pump and pressure continued to build up in the pump.

When the employees started cracking the seal of the pump from the system, the high-pressure condensate escaped and four employees were seriously burned during the incident.

According to the release, civil penalties for OSH violations are included in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina in the General Statutes. The maximum penalty for each serious violation is $14,502.

The General Statutes say the Labor Department has to take into consideration various factors such as the gravity of the violation, the size of the business, the good faith and cooperation of the employer, and the history of previous violations.

The penalties are in no way designed to make up for loss of life. By law, the civil money penalties collected by the N.C. Department of Labor are not the receipts of the department, but rather must be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund, which then distributes the monies to the public school system.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with the Labor Department, to file a notice of contest with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission of North Carolina (an independent board appointed by the governor to hear appeals of OSH citations), or to pay the penalty.

The date by which the violation must be abated is April 13, with a proposed penalty of $14,502.

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