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Paper Company Fined In Worker Death

OSHA fined APC Paper for safety violations that it says were intentional and led to the death of a worker who was pulled through a paper rolling machine.

CLAREMONT, N.H. (AP) -- The federal government has fined a New Hampshire paper company for safety violations that it says were intentional and led to the death of a 34-year-old man who was pulled through a paper rolling machine.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the APC Paper company of Claremont $288,000 for not having safety precautions in place. OSHA said the company did not have mechanisms that would have spared workers from hand-feeding materials into a paper rolling machine.

Leo Gonyea of Enfield died July 26 after being pulled into the rolling machine, which is designed to press moisture out of paper as it rolls through the machine. He had been a temporary employee at the plant for nearly a year when the accident happened.

"Had the company utilized a safe and effective means of automatically feeding the roller, instead of relying on hand-feeding, this incident and the resulting loss of this worker's life would not have occurred," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's director for New Hampshire.

OSHA said APC also failed to institute safeguards to prevent workers from coming into contact with other moving parts on the rolling machine.

By the time rescue workers arrived at the plant, Gonyea had been pulled free of the machine but was in cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at a hospital about 90 minutes after the early morning accident.

OSHA also cited the 50-year-old paper company for other serious violations, including failure to install guard rails around the paper rolling machine and on the building's roof, and for not training employees who work on and test electrical equipment.

APC manufactures wrapping tissue and other paper products entirely from recycled paper.

The company has 15 days to pay or contest the fines. APC human resources manager Laura Gilbert said Tuesday the company has no comment on the fines.

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