The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Burrows Paper Corp., based in Little Falls, N.Y., for repeat and serious safety violations at two of the company's work sites. Burrows faces $298,100 in proposed fines following inspections by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office.

"The proposed fines reflect both the gravity of the cited hazards and the employer's refusal to use required safeguards," said Chris Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. "Workers could have been injured in falls, electrocuted or suffered other injuries because of the employer's repeated failure to ensure a safe workplace."

The inspections were initiated as part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting inspection plan. The inspections were conducted because the company's injury and illness rates exceeded national incident rates for 2009 and 2010. Burrows is a food grade paper and packaging manufacturer that has five paper machines in four mills located in New York and Mississippi. It employs approximately 700 workers.

During the inspection of the company's Mohawk Valley Mill at 489 West Main St., OSHA inspectors found an electrical hazard related to the use of electrical equipment not approved for the location. Additionally, inspectors identified six repeat violations for safety hazards related to additional electrical hazards.

The inspection of the East Mill at 730 E. Mill St. found two serious safety violations for exposure to combustible paper dust, electrical issues and a malfunctioning exit light.

A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any of its facilities in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA had previously cited Burrows in 2010 and 2011 for similar hazards at locations in Little Falls and Lyons Falls. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Burrows has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The citations can be viewed at http://go.usa.gov/kCSB* and http://go.usa.gov/kCSQ*.