Evergreen faces a fine for safety violation

By Vicki Hyatt | Nov 21, 2012

The N.C. Department of Labor has fined Evergreen Packaging $6,300 for a violation of Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina.

The action follows an inspection after an Aug. 21 accident where a dryer can cover on the No. 19 paper machine fell to the basement under the machine and struck an employee on the head.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citation 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, according to information provided by Neal O'Briant with the labor department’s public information office.

In the citation, issued Nov. 2, it was noted the company was not following its policy adopted after a dryer cover fell in April 2011.

An acceptable way to abate the hazard, according to the inspection notice, is following the company policy tighten the lid to the recommended torque level specified by the manufacturer.

Another acceptable abatement option was suggested in the citation.

Civil penalties for OSH violations are included in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina in the state’s general statutes. The maximum penalty for each serious violation is $7,000. The law states that the labor department has to take into consideration various factors such as the size of the business, the good faith and cooperation of the employer and the history of previous violations in assessing penalties.

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 systems.

Fines are issued to penalize the offending employer but also to get the attention of other employers with similar work environments, said O’Briant.

Evergreen released the following statement about the citation.

"We have frequently been in touch with the employee, and we hope and expect the employee will make a full recovery.  Beyond that, we have nothing more to say at this time."


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