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Local company faces $300,000 in OSHA fines

 

NATCHEZ — A local tissue and paper towel manufacturing facility faces more than $300,000 in fines for alleged workplace hazard violations.

Von Drehle Corp. production facility located on Majorca Road in Natchez could receive $303,657 in penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the facility for having a workplace that puts employees at risk of injury, OSHA officials allege.Von Drehle is headquartered in Hickory, North Carolina, and manufacturers industrial and commercial paper products at facilities in North Carolina, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.

A recent OSHA inspection in Natchez resulted in citations for exposing employees to electrical hazards; lack of machine guarding; allowing combustible dust to accumulate on surfaces; failing to lockout machinery to control hazardous energy; exposing employees to arc-flash; and allowing slip, trip, and fall hazards, OSHA officials said.

“Employers are required to assess potential hazards, and make necessary corrections to ensure a safe workplace,” said OSHA Jackson Area Office Director Courtney Bohannon. “The inspection results demonstrate workplace deficiencies existed, putting workers at serious risk of injury or death.”

The company issued a statement Thursday addressing the citations at the Natchez facility, which said:

“Employee safety is the utmost important priority for von Drehle, which is why we fully cooperated with OSHA throughout the inspections. We are evaluating the citations and cannot comment on pending matters.”

The company has 15 business days after receiving the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with Bohannon, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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