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OSHA issued two dozen violations against Central Paper Stock, Inc. | Justin Foster/Shutterstock

The federal government is fining a St. Louis recycling facility $261,000 after an employee was crushed to death in a paper baler last fall.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued two dozen violations against Central Paper Stock, Inc. Those included one willful violation, 21 serious violations and two other-than-serious safety violations, according to an OSHA press release. OSHA also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which subjects the company to more intense OSHA scrutiny in the future.

On Oct. 26, 2021, a worker walked up an in-feed conveyor belt to clear material jamming the conveyor. They fell down a chute and into the paper baler, where they were killed. OSHA found the company failed to erect guards to prevent the employee from falling into the paper baler, and it failed to shut down the conveyor and baler while the worker attempted to clear the jam.

OSHA also cited Central Paper Stock for violations involving walking-working surfaces, personal protective equipment, potential explosive dust accumulation, permit-required confined spaces, sanitary conditions, electrical wiring, fire extinguisher training and hazard communication, according to the release.

OSHA noted that Central Paper Stock’s facility sorts and bales over 20,000 tons of paper and plastic annually. The company’s website indicates that it buys and sells scrap fibers, plastics and metals around the world, and that it supplies scrap paper and plastics to a large number of paper mills and manufacturers.

The company has 15 business days from the date it received the citations, April 25, to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or argue against findings before a commission. A company representative declined to comment to Resource Recycling but said he would comment “once we finally settle with OSHA.”

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