Paper Mill Accident Attorneys
Fighting for Industrial Workers Injured at Paper Mills
Each year, approximately 9 million tons of pulp is produced by paper mills. There are around 565 paper mill facilities and more than 200,000 employees across the U.S. While paper mills are an important part of modern life, they can present many occupational hazards.
Respiratory & Cardiovascular Health Threats
Hazardous materials that paper mill workers can be exposed to include pesticides, chlorinated organic compounds, and hexavalent chromium. In the past, many paper mill workers were exposed to asbestos, but this threat has been largely eliminated in the modern world.
Paper mills use a variety of chemical substances that can pose a threat to human health:
- Gaseous Sulphur Compounds
- Chlorine and Chlorine Dioxide
- Sodium Hydroxide Mist
- Sulfuric Acid
- Acetic Acid
- Formic Acid
- Gluconic Acid
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Dust Particles Containing Lime & Sodium Sulphate
Dangers That Paper Mill Workers Face
A paper mill worker can be exposed to hazardous materials at any stage of the papermaking process—from the preparation to the production. The compounds that paper mill workers are exposed to have been shown to cause significant respiratory and cardiovascular effects.
Examples of the dangers during each phase of paper production include:
- Raw Wood Preparation: Wood Volatiles, Wood Dust, Spores, Fungi & Microbes
- Production of Cooking Liquor: Sulphate & Sulphite
- Pulp Production, Cooking: Sulphate, Sulphite & Ground Wood
- Pulp Bleaching, Bleach Plant: Chlorine Compounds, Ozone, Hydrogen Peroxide & Boron Compounds
- Wet Pulp, Paper Additives: Talc, Clays, Titanium Dioxide, Pigments & Dyes
- Paper Rolling, Sizing, Dying, Drying, Glazing & Coating: Paper Dust, Coating & Pigment Dusts
- Maintenance: General Plant Exposures, Asbestos & Welding Fumes
- Unknown Jobs, Power, Utility: General Plant Exposures & Asbestos
Oklahoma Paper Mill Explosion Injures 5, Leaves Thousands Unemployed
In May 2019, the Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Muskogee, OK exploded due to a ruptured fuel line. A forklift fuel line allegedly ruptured, made contact with the propane tank, and then caused an explosion. The presence of highly-flammable paper products throughout the plant fed the fire, creating an enormous and destructive blaze that leveled the entire facility. Five workers were injured and hospitalized as a result, and two firefighters suffered heat exhaustion at the scene.
Our Oklahoma plant explosion lawyers have never been more adamant about the need for regular and thorough equipment maintenance. When something as simple as a faulty fuel line can endanger hundreds of lives, it's a plant owner's responsibility to inspect every corner of the facility regularly. Failure to do so can wreak havoc in thousands of lives, including the hundreds of people in Muskogee who were rendered unemployed as a result of the explosion.
Common Industrial Accidents at Paper Mills
Besides occupational disease, many other dangers come with working at a paper mill.
According to reports, between 2005 and 2010, 33 workers were killed in paper mills:
- 9 were killed by mobile equipment
- 7 were killed by fixed equipment
- 5 were killed in falls
- 4 died in explosions
- 2 were electrocuted
- 2 from scalding
- 1 in a flash fire
- 1 was crushed by a roll of heavy paper
- 1 died by inhaling poisonous chlorine dioxide
- 1 fell into equipment used to chop paper
Safety Procedures That Should Be Implemented
It is advised that to cut back on paper mill dangers, the following must occur:
- There must be union involvement in safety & health
- Work must be organized & managed smartly
- There must be effective processes for safety & quick emergency response
- Combustible & toxic dust must be regulated
- There must be better machine guarding & Lockout / Tagout (LOTO)
- Workers should attend safety programs
- Workers must be trained to recognize hazards, know what to do & how to respond to emergencies
Paper Mill Accident FAQ
Is working in a paper mill dangerous?
Paper mills are factories that use heavy machinery to make paper from materials like wood pulp and other ingredients. They can be extremely dangerous places to work—if proper safety measures are not in place to protect workers. Defective or poorly designed equipment can also cause injuries. Because workers are often operating or in close proximity to machinery and large rolls of paper. Workers are also at risk of suffering respiratory problems caused by inhaling dust that contains talc, dyes, pigments, wood, chemicals, and other harmful substances. When these injuries occur, it’s important to find out what right you have to compensation.
What should I do if I’m injured in a paper mill accident?
There are a few key things you should do if you’re injured while working at a paper mill in Texas. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, and inform your supervisor or manager. You’ll need to tell your employer of the incident to protect your right to workers’ compensation, or you could lose your right to benefits. You should also consider talking to an attorney, particularly if you were seriously injured or are having any problems with your workers’ comp claim. Claims are denied every day for missing information or incidents that employers claim are not work-related. You could be entitled to additional compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit if someone other than your employer or a co-worker was responsible. An attorney can talk to you about your options, your rights, and how to get the medical care and financial help you need to recover and move on with your life.
Who is responsible for paper mill worker injuries?
Paper mill injuries can occur as a result of operator experience or error, failure to properly inspect and maintain machinery, failure to implement OSHA standards, lack of proper safety gear, defective products, or even intentional misconduct. Depending on the cause of your accident, a co-worker, your employer, a manufacturer, or another individual or company may be responsible. An investigation will help to reveal cause and responsibility so you can seek justice.
Have You Sustained an Injury or Illness While Working at a Paper Mill?
If you believe your employer or co-worker is responsible for the paper mill injury or illness that you sustained, do not hesitate to contact our paper mill accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin. We have helped many people who were in the same situation you are in now. We know that life becomes difficult after sustaining industrial injuries; that is why we are dedicated to fighting for your rights, so you can pay medical bills and secure your future.
Contact us for a free consultation at (888) 493-1629. We have recovered billions of dollars on behalf of our clients, and we are prepared to fight for your rights.