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OSHA fines Tomahawk cardboard box plant $185K for safety violations

TOMAHAWK, WI (WTAQ) - Federal workplace safety officials announced $185,000 in fines Thursday against a Tomahawk cardboard box plant where an employee was severely burned in March -- and where five other workers died in mishaps since 2008.

In the latest incident, a worker at the Packaging Corporation of America was in the process of re-lighting a steam boiler when he got burned.

The U.S. Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration said PCA should have taken steps to prevent flammable vapors from being ignited -- and giving employees proper safety equipment.

OSHA said the PCA committed 30 safety violations in the latest incident.

The firm can either pay or challenge the fines, or seek a settlement conference to lower its penalties -- which happens in a many cases.

In July of last year, two contractors at the Tomahawk plant were killed by burning fly ash.

In 2008, three PCA employees died while performing maintenance at the top of a storage tank for recycled fibers.

A fourth employee was injured.  PCA has not commented on the latest citations. 

The firm is based in Lake Forest Illinois, north of Chicago.