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Accident reported at Rayonier AM Fernandina Beach, Florida mill

FERNANDINA BEACH, Florida (From the NCFL Independent) -- For the second time this month, an accident at Rayonier Advanced Materials in Fernandina Beach has sent a worker to the hospital.

On Wednesday, city Fire Rescue crews responded to a toxic chemical leak with several workers trapped, according to the incident report.

The report said up to six workers may have been exposed to sulphur dioxide, a toxic gas.

"Upon arrival, E1 was advised by mill personnel that there had been an SO2 leak on the sixth floor of the digester room with several men exposed," said the report, which put the emergency call at 12:37 a.m.

One worker was taken to the hospital and advanced life support was provided, according to the report.

Five workers refused transport to the hospital.

"These 5 were advised that they should be medically evaluated at the hospital. They did not want to be transported via rescue. They advised that they would go to the hospital by (private vehicle) or other means arranged for by the mill."

The report also said:

"The men were initially trapped but have been removed from the area prior to our arrival. At this time all men have been accounted for and need to be evaluated."

RAYM General Manager C.A. McDonald and company spokesperson Ryan Houck did not respond to phone calls requesting comment.

On June 9, a RAYM worker was reported hospitalized after an accident in the pulp dryer area. The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened a "serious" safety investigation, according to OSHA's website (www.osha.gov). Late last week, OSHA's regional office in Jacksonville did not have notice about RAYM's June 21 incident.

OSHA has reporting requirements for fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, and loss of an eye as result of work-related injuries. On-the-job heart attacks must also be reported.

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