Article Comment 

No injuries reported after Minor explosion at Weyerhaeuser


Special to The Dispatch



Weyerhaueser company officials this morning confirmed an explosion Monday evening at the Columbus Cellulose Fiber operation. 


"At about 6 p.m., a storage tank containing sodium hydroxide, known as white liquor, exploded, during an extended annual maintenance shutdown," said Kent Walker, vice president of operations and site manager at the Columbus plant.  


"All the contents from the tank were contained on the plant site, as a result of the facility''s containment system, and no injuries were reported," Walker added, noting, as required, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality were notified of the incident. 


An investigation to determine the cause of the explosion is under way. 


Weyerhaeuser Co. employs about 1,100 in Mississippi and manages more than 750,000 acres of timberland in the state, all certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. 


Along with the Columbus Cellulose Fibers facility, Weyerhaeuser''s Mississippi operations include modified fibers operation in Columbus, softwood lumber operations at Bruce, McComb and Philadelphia and timberlands offices at Bellefontaine, Bruce, Columbia, Columbus, Magnolia, Philadelphia, Poplarville, Scooba and Silver Creek.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment Former Emp commented at 6/4/2009 9:57:00 AM:

A lot of talk about safety and being injury free from the guys out there. They used to give incentives and reward you for your hard work and working safely. But after Kent saw how much it cost him, he cut it out.

They gave Best Buy gift card to the employees after reaching the safety goals he set. I believe it was $500 gift cards. But after handing out over 1000 of those then all safety rewards were basically cut out.

Basically, they give you a pat on the back and go on their way. And also after you put in 30 years in the company, they will give you a beautiful little lapel pin. Man that really makes you happy. Put in 30 years of night shifts, missing your family, putting your life and danger and you get a lapel pin.

Wake up Kent and the rest of you guys running the show out there. Appreciate the awesome staff of workers you have and start paying them the money they deserve and start rewarding them more for reaching the goals you set. After my team reached 8 years of no safety incidents at all, we were told we wouldnt recieve anything at all. Not even a dinner, a gift card or even a piece of paper saying thanks for working safe for 8 years.

That speaks alot to your workers guys. Work hard, work safe and keep our noses away from OSHA and the EPA and to reward you we will do nothing.

Now I do understand working hard and working safe is part of your job. No problem there. But a little show of thanks would go a long way to motivating you staff and showing them you care about them.

Maybe Kent needs to start practicing what he preaches.


Article Comment ted Shred commented at 6/4/2009 11:36:00 AM:

Perhaps you should take pride in your work rather than being mad you didn't get gifts and prizes for not getting killed. My father worked at CPPC for over 25 years. I never heard him complain. I worked there 5 summers.It was a great job and learning experience.


Article Comment working man''s wife commented at 6/4/2009 12:08:00 PM:

Ted Shred... You don't have a clue obviously. My husband was there the night the tank exploded. He busts his behind for these folks and they don't give a crap about him, just the profit they get. I am tired of my husband working in a dangerous place and being gone from me and our child. Incentive is a part of life. They do need to thank the staff more often!! If CPPC was such a great job, then why aren't you still there. You need to get a life!


Article Comment Ted Shred commented at 6/4/2009 2:13:00 PM:

@ Wife

I don't work there because I went to college, graduated and am now working in my field of study. I never said the job wasn't dangerous. I said you shouldn't be rewarded for being "safe".

Madam, I think it is you who need to get a life. Better yet, get a job and help your husband out, or is that too much effort?


Article Comment a mature adult commented at 6/4/2009 4:00:00 PM:

Ted Shred is very immature, he must not have a family of his own. As far as a wife with a child needing to get a job/get a life..she has a life--raising a child and not abandoning it is work and the most important thing a person can day when you grow up and have a family you may understand this. Anywho, my dad has worked at the mill for 27 years, he was there the night of this incident, and he worried about his fellow co-workers. It's dangerous work but once upon a time he got a pat on the back for saving the company millions for things he has personally fixed for the company and yet he saw nothing of a bonus for the big bucks he has saved them and what all those guys do for the multi-billion dollar company. He loves his job, but why should he feel like the little guy working to pay the big guys salary when it is he/many others who work to furnish the big guys wages whilst he just sits back behind a desk? The little guys can only go so far up the pay ladder and no more can be gained no matter how hard one works. My dad sacrificed my childhood in order to work day and night, he's self taught and a real craftsman, even the big boss of the company says he's the best they have, but his pay can't go up. He's done all he can to reach the pay ceiling. Shame really. Same goes for underpaid teachers, policemen, firemen, etc.


Article Comment James Allen commented at 6/4/2009 10:12:00 PM:

I work for Weyerhaeuser at the mill in Port Wentworth, Ga. We have reviewed with our crew what little we have been able to find out about the incidentin hopes of preventing it from happening to us. I was at the Columbus facility for the Pre-Startup audit and found the staff there truely concerned with the Safety of the people. Say what you want Safety is each persons own responsibility. I feel that being able to return home each and every day is enough reward for what should be taken for granted, looking after my own well being and that of my team members. I have been with the Company for just over 3 years now, coming from Georgia-Pacific (KOCH Cellulose) if they feel unappreciated with Weyerhaeuser they should try a company like KOCH.


Article Comment Former Emp commented at 6/5/2009 10:08:00 AM:

Look, some points are being overlooked.

In my original post I mentioned I understand working safe and working hard is part of the job and you should do it 100%.

The point is being recognized properly for your hard work and safety. While I was there my team reached 8 years injury free and we thought our bosses were going to buy us a supper to grill out during that rotation. When we were in our safety meeting our area boss told us we would get a dinner at 10 years! REALLY? Go 10 years without an injury and you will get a steak. How about do it every year you go injury free. I mean you dont have to spend thousands of dollars but you can buy a few dozen donuts for breakfast. That would be a WHOPPING 50 bucks maybe if that much!!

That is where I get upset! I am one who treats people right and reward them when they need it. You send the wrong message when you do things like Kent, Kevin Smith and others do it.

I am glad I dont work there anymore. Im much happier and I look back now and see more and more how bad most of the guys have it out there. It is very poorly managed by some guys.

Another issue to me is this: They preach about everyone doing there share of work and working as a team. But the problem is no one steps up and tells certain employees that they need to do their share.

I witnessed many times how certain people who were in different backgrounds or a different sex got away with sitting around all day or night talking on phones while the rest of the team did their job. I know in my experience that the office these people sat in was a revolving door for men to come in and flirt with these women all the time. Most were married and most had no problems with their actions.

How can it be ok for some employees to act a certain way and not have to pull their weight in work but they can sit back and make the most money while the guys who do ALL the work and dont have time to take tests get paid below their skill level.

There are a lot of issues that should be addressed out there. They have an image of the "greatest place to work in Columbus" and in some ways they are but in some they are not.

I believe you pay people for their hard work and reward them for being great employees. I dont believe you allow certain people to get away with anything and everything because you are afraid of a lawsuit.


Article Comment rod commented at 6/6/2009 7:51:00 AM:

HMMM.... seems to me that the group who likes to complain should go start their own business together. I am sure that they would have the best business plan and the largest customer base ever. Yes I think that would be a good idea, let all of the complainers live in one little community together and see how far the progress in life. As for me I choose to live in the group who appreciates the small things in life. Like the fact that God saw fit that no one was injured from the explosion. Wait I said small things. That seems pretty large. While I agree that safety is everyones responsibility, there are still accidents whether we like it or not. And to use those situations as a platform to complain.... I think that is quite immature. Let's all work to support, build, strengthen and we will have a stronger community, one that helps and appreciates their neighbors, one that blesses instead of complains.


Article Comment JW commented at 6/6/2009 9:53:00 AM:

Keep up the good work Kent! Everyone who has a job should be greatful. Safety is a daily part to ensuring you keep your job and the business. You are rewarded daily by just being safe! Take that home with you. Thank God for providing our community with people like Kent and companies like Weyerhaeuser, Lowe's, Microtec, Omnova/Gencorp, Severstal, Sears, McDonalds,UPS etc... safety is a function at all these companies, if you want to work, your job is to ensure safety. Those who complain about their place of employment should look for another job. The Grass is not Always Greener, and safety is what helps keep them in business too. Kent would not be in his position if he did not care about people. Sacrifice is part of life, one has to do it to provide for their family. Everyone always feel they are under paid, just be glad you have a job and the benefits. If it does not provide for your family then your living out of your means and you are responsible for that. Be blessed or sacrifice get an education to better your life and you will find safety is part of that life too. Congratulations Kent Walker for keeping everyone safe, you have help train them well.


Article Comment working man''s wife commented at 6/8/2009 1:42:00 PM:

Ted I have a master's degree and a wonderful job. I have a life. Get a family of your own and you will understand fully what I said to you previously!


Article Comment Ted commented at 6/9/2009 10:38:00 AM:

I have a masters too. Big deal. I have a family. Now go file some papers with your "masters degree"


Article Comment wife commented at 6/13/2009 1:20:00 AM:

You know Ted, I do more than file papers with my master's degree. Obviously you don't know the meaning of family or you wouldn't have stated the things you did earlier. I feel sorry for your wife and kids!!!


Article Comment mary sue commented at 6/24/2009 12:36:00 AM:

This is an everyday [email protected] weyerhaeuser. Most of the time is spent bring each other down and the few that do work are usually looked over or walked on by those who know it all.


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