Jay, ME- Malfunctioning machinery sent wood fiber and other debris shooting into the sky after a massive explosion at a paper mill in Jay, Maine, Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
All employees at the mill have since been accounted for and no injuries were reported.
At 12:06 p.m., Jay police and fire officials received reports of an explosion at a paper factory operated by Pixelle Specialty Paper Solutions at 300 Riley Rd., Davis said. Pixelle spokeswoman Roxie Lassetter said a rupture in the pressure valve of a digester, which creates pulp from wood chips to be used in the paper, caused the explosion.
Lassetter said none of the 165 employees who were inside the building were near the explosion. Some employees and people close to the plant were treated at the scene for minor respiratory issues from the debris in the air, but no one was taken to the hospital, she said.
Lassetter said the blast sent water, wood fiber, and chemicals used during the pulping process into the air during the blast. Environmental officials from the state will assess the area for any hazards, she said.
Pixelle has yet to determine the extent of the damage. Fire officials and representatives from the company will start to assess the site Thursday morning, though Lassetter said the area of the blast has sustained “significant damage.”
Eufaula, AL- Within the last month, there have been two fatalities in Tyson factories within the United States. A worker died on March 2nd at a Keystone Foods chicken processing plant in Eufaula, AL while cleaning a piece of equipment.
Barbour County Coroner Chip Chapman said in the report that 39-year-old contractor Carlos Lynn became “caught in a pinch-point of the equipment,” and that the cause of death was a decapitation. The official told the broadcaster that the equipment involved in the incident was a chiller.
Tyson Foods, the owner of the plant, told WRBL that operations halted at the facility the day following the industrial accident.
“We’re investigating an accident at our Eufaula, AL facility yesterday that involved a worker employed by an outside contractor and will provide more information when we can,” Tyson Foods said in a statement printed by the station. “We’re grateful for the swift response and assistance of local emergency personnel.”
Another worker died in a Tyson plant March 23rd in Garden City, Kansas.
Deputies responded to the plant for a man not breathing. EMS transported the man, identified as 30-year-old Kendrick Gregory of Garden City, to the hospital where he died.
The Finney County Sheriff’s Office said their initial investigation showed that Gregory was doing maintenance on the harvest assembly line when he was pulled up by harness against a takeaway belt. Another co-worker was able to cut him free.
These two fatalities in Tyson factories could have potentially been prevented with proper and secure Lockout Tagout procedures. Lockout Tagout isolates and locks each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the startup of machinery or equipment that may result in injuring a worker.
Sydney, Australia- A 35-year-old man has lost half his leg in a workplace accident at a factory in New South Wales’ Macarthur region, near Sydney.
Ambulance crews were called to the Inghams Poultry Processing Plant on Ralfe St, Tahmoor, about 8am on Wednesday.
Paramedics worked frantically to free the man, trapped in a machine at the turkey processing facility, and whose leg had to be amputated from the knee.
He was treated at the scene before being flown to Liverpool Hospital in a serious condition.
The ambulance spokesperson said a 35-year-old man was stuck in a piece of machinery, and has sustained a serious leg injury. A specialist medical team arrived by helicopter, where the man was extricated from the scene and flown to hospital for further treatment, in a serious condition.
“Ingham’s has been working with emergency services to do everything it can to support and aid an employee who has been injured in a serious workplace incident. The employee is on his way to hospital and is reported to be in a stable condition,” an Ingham’s spokesperson states.
“The employee’s family is on their way to the hospital and being given all possible assistance and support. Fellow employees are being provided with counselling.”
“Ingham’s will work with the appropriate safety authorities to investigate the incident and will continue to focus on ensuring the safety of its employees.”
Sanger,CA- A woman died after her hair and clothing got stuck while clearing debris on Friday from a raisin processing machine, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. The fatality from the incident happened at the Del Rey Packing Company’s dehydrator plant near Sanger, California.
The woman was identified as 33-year-old Yaneth Lopez Valladares.
Fresno Sheriff’s say Valladares got a piece of loose clothing caught in a machine used to process raisins.
The machine severely injured her, causing her to pass away at the scene as a result of the trauma she suffered, officials say.
Two other employees were nearby and immediately powered down the equipment and dialed 911. This was the woman’s second year working at this particular facility.
Valladares’s boss was too shaken and distraught to speak to us on camera, but he says his heart goes out to her family and friends.
Cal OSHA is investigating the incident, which could take a few months to complete, and released this statement:
An employee working for a farm labor contractor named Blessed Harvest was working on a Stem Grading Line when their clothing got caught on a shaft to a cylinder that breaks up raisin bunches, causing the employee to strike their head.
They will also be looking to see if there were any violations at this facility and if proper training was given to employees.
Kentucky, USA- The family of a Kentucky man killed in a workplace incident has filed a lawsuit against his employer, GE Appliances, as well as other parties.
Steve Herring, who has worked for GE Appliances for more than two decades, died in February after being pinned by machinery while working on a refrigerator-building assembly line. News sources are reporting that the state OSHA’s investigation into the workplace incident found that it could have been caused by an inadvertent activation of an improperly positioned gate interlock control.
The lawsuit filed in Jefferson Circuit Court last week names General Electric Company, Design Safety Engineering Inc., Doerfer Corperation, Doerfer Acquisition Company, JR Automation Technologies LLC, Haier US Appliance Solutions Inc. and Kentucky resident Mark Miller as defendants.
The lawsuit claims that the assembly line Herring was working on was “unreasonably dangerous” and in “defective condition.” It alleges that there were no instructions or warnings about the hazards on the line — and that the companies being sued were aware of the defects. The suit requests punitive and compensatory damages.
According to Kentucky OSHA, GE made changes to the safety programming on an assembly line that was identical to the one at which Herring was pinned following a 2014 incident. However, the company didn’t fix the line where Herring worked until after Herring died.
An inspection conducted by the agency after the fatality resulted in GE being cited for seven safety violations and fined $98,000, which the company is appealing.
Waukegan, IL- An OSHA investigation into the deaths of four employees of an Illinois chemical plant has resulted in more than a million dollars in proposed penalties against AB Specialty Silicones LLC.
The company has been cited for a dozen willful federal safety violations in the explosion and fire at its Waukegan facility on May 3, 2019 that caused deaths of four employees.
The silicon chemical products manufacturer faces $1,591,176 in penalties and has been placed in the in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA investigators determined AB Specialty Silicones failed to ensure that electrical equipment and installations in the production area of the plant complied with OSHA electrical standards, and were approved for hazardous locations. The company also used forklifts powered by liquid propane to transport volatile flammable liquids, and operated these forklifts in areas where employees handled and processed volatile flammable liquids and gases, creating the potential for ignition.
Bluffton, IN – Valero Renewable Fuels was the site of a workplace death this month caused by a lockout accident. A 42-year-old contractor was found dead at the plant, his body trapped in a piece of machinery.
Ryan West became trapped in machinery while working as a contractor at the Valero Renewable Fuels ethanol plant in Bluffton, IN. Local police have stated that Valero employees called 911 saying they couldn’t find West and feared he had been in an accident. When emergency responders arrived, they found his body caught in a piece of equipment. West was employed by Diversified Industrial Services, a grain equipment supplier, and was performing maintenance work on a large auger.
Lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the startup of machinery or equipment that may result in worker injury. Lockout/Tagout is also known as LOTO or Control of Hazardous Energy. These terms refers to the same safety standard and procedures and practices designed to prevent the unexpected start up or movement of equipment, especially crucial during maintenance or service work.
A study conducted by the United Auto Workers revealed that 20% of fatalities among their membership were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control or lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures. An estimated 3 million workers service equipment as a part of their work duties. These employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard is said to prevent approximately 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year at facilities across the US.
Indiana’s arm of OSHA is investigating this latest incident, while local news media are reporting a history of safety violations at the ethanol plant. Earlier this year, Valero’s Bluffton plant was fined for “serious safety violations” involving machinery safety and lockout/tagout.
Tragedies such as this lockout accident in Indiana are preventable. Please contact a Lockout Specialist at Martin Technical today to discuss how we can help to make your plant or facility better, safer, and more efficient with the support of our suite of Lockout Tagout, Arc Flash, Electrical Safety, Risk Assessment, Training, Machine Safety, and Safety Consulting services.
PETERS TOWNSHIP, PA – Cameron Allen Funk, 19, Greencastle, was found dead at Mellott Manufacturing, according to a release from Pennsylvania State Police, Chambersburg. Funk’s death was caused by a heavy piece of machinery falling on him.
Dispatchers identified the incident as an industrial accident with entrapment when first calling emergency personnel to the scene. An update soon after indicated there was no entrapment, but that a person was dead. State police arrived on scene around 3:00 PM on Wednesday, February 28.
State Police, the Franklin County Coroner’s Office and OSHA are investigating the incident. As of right now the death ruled an accident.
“The employer has no prior OSHA inspection history,” said Joanna P. Hawkins, deputy regional director for the U.S. Department of Labor, Philadelphia. “OSHA has up to six months to complete its investigation.”
Mellott Manufacturing makes conveyors and machines for the sawmill, pallet and woodworking industry. Sixty employees work there, per the company’s website.
This is the fourth death in Franklin County, PA in the last month from heavy machinery. Three people died earlier this month as a result of a crane accident at Manitowoc Crane in Shady Grove, just east of Greencastle.
Watkins, MN – A maintenance worker was killed last week when he became pinned in the industrial machinery he was working on at International Barrier Technology. Rescue workers freed the man from the equipment and began life saving efforts, but sadly, he died at the scene.
The worker was identified as Todd Shoutz, 51, of Litchfield (MN). Shoutz, a maintenance worker at Barrier Technology, was reportedly working on a machine and became pinned in a piece of equipment. Despite the efforts of emergency teams on the scene, the employee succumbed to his injuries after being freed from the equipment.
The International Barrier Technology plant in MN processes building materials to make them fire-resistant.
Marshfield, WI – Felker Brothers Corp faces $110,458 in fines for 13 serious violations of federal workplace safety regulations, including failure to adequately anchor machinery to the floor and other machine safety concerns.
OSHA investigated the Wisconsin manufacturer of steel pipes and tubes after receiving report of a worker who suffered severe injuries after being struck by a moving piece of machinery. The worker was hospitalized after suffering a shattered jaw and concussion.
At Martin Technical, we are very aware that safety solutions must not hinder production or reduce the capacity of the machine. During machine safety inspections, each individual machine is registered, defects detected and recorded, and safety hazards are discussed with the staff to attain consensus on any suggested solutions. After inspection, we prepare a report outlining the various deficiencies including photo documentation and a description of necessary changes. This report can become a foundational document for the staff who must implement the safety related solutions.
Machine safety inspections include mechanical parts, electrical components, safety switches, emergency stops, and guards. While machines must be safe to use, they must also not hinder production or reduce the capacity of the machine. Inspection of machinery is based on the grounds that the machine must be safe to use and machinery and equipment must be maintained in good and safe working condition.
Felker Brothers Corp. manufactures and custom fabricates stainless steel pipe, tubes, and fittings at manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and Kentucky.