Fatal accident at Georgia-Pacific illustrates scaffolding dangers

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

As Georgia-Pacific recently learned the hard way, it’s important to regularly check compliance with OSHA safety standards.

OSHA fined the Atlanta-based company $63,000 after a fatal accident at its Cedar Springs paper mill. An employee serving as a fire watchman for a welder fell 30 feet to his death from a catwalk that ran alongside a metal tank. A pressure-valve discharged steam and caused the man to fall.

OSHA cited the company for rusted and loose catwalk guardrails, inadequate written procedures for rendering the equipment inoperable while welding, and failure to locate pressure-relief valves so they would vent away from employees.

Georgia-Pacific also received a repeat citation for failing to ensure that employees were familiar with and adequately trained on the tank’s lockout procedures.

Note: Scaffolding violations topped OSHA’s list of most-violated safety and health standards for fiscal year 2006.  

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