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August 23, 2023
Dixon Ticonderoga cited for amputation injury

Art supply manufacturer Dixon Ticonderoga Co. faces $203,806 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines following a worker’s amputation injury. The agency cited the employer for two repeat and four serious violations, OSHA announced August 18.

Agency inspectors found that Dixon Ticonderoga’s Neenah, Wisconsin, facility lacked adequate machine safety procedures. OSHA has cited the company three times since 2020 for similar violations.

OSHA inspectors determined the injury occurred as a worker tried to clean a press used to imprint images in labeling and packaging processes that lacked required safety guards. Inspectors also learned the company hadn’t developed clear and specific lockout/tagout (control of hazardous energy) procedures and didn’t protect workers by employing such measures before servicing and maintaining equipment.

OSHA’s lockout/tagout standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §1910.147) is the agency’s sixth most frequently cited standard, cited 1,977 times in fiscal year (FY) 2022. The machine guarding standard is its tenth most frequently cited standard, cited 1,370 times in FY 2022.

“For the fourth time in three years, our inspectors found Dixon Ticonderoga exposing workers to severe injuries by failing to make sure dangerous machines are guarded or de-energized as required,” Robert Bonack, OSHA’s Appleton, Wisconsin, area office director, said in an agency statement.

Founded in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1812, Dixon Ticonderoga was one of the nation’s first pencil manufacturers, according to OSHA. The company, now headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, produces pencils, art papers and supplies, and craft and educational materials. Dixon Ticonderoga is affiliated with Italy’s F.I.L.A. Group, one of the world’s largest art and education suppliers.

Cement manufacturer cited in Mississippi River drowning

Buzzi Unicem USA, which operates as River Cement Sales Co., could have prevented a 50-year-old employee from drowning after falling from a barge into the Mississippi River, OSHA stated August 17. The company now faces $62,500 in proposed penalties.

OSHA’s inspection into the fatal incident found that three employees of Buzzi Unicem boarded a barge without wearing personal flotation devices. Shortly after climbing to a second deck to repair a blocked valve, one of the workers fell head-first into the river from the barge’s side. Coworkers tried unsuccessfully to rescue their colleague, and the worker’s remains weren’t recovered until nearly a month later, according to OSHA.

The agency cited the company for five serious violations, including:

  • Failing to make sure employees wore personal flotation devices when exposed to drowning hazards,
  • Failing to install guardrails to protect workers from falling into the water
  • Failing to train employees in first aid,
  • Not installing an eyewash station for workers exposed to corrosive materials, and
  • Not ensuring chemical labels were prominently displayed on a container or readily available in the work area, resulting in a hazard communication violation.

“Buzzi Unicem USA could have prevented this tragedy by making sure employees wore the personal protective equipment that was readily available,” Courtney Bohannon, OSHA’s Jackson, Mississippi, area office director, said in an agency statement.

“Employers have a legal responsibility to provide employees with a safe and healthy workplace. This employer’s failures cost a worker his life and leaves family, friends, and loved ones with an unfillable void in their own lives.”

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