Two employees of the mill at Tumut, about 100 kilometres west of the ACT, were seriously injured during routine maintenance work in 2008.
The men were working on the chip meter, a machine that uses chemicals and extreme heat to turn woodchip into pulp.
But as they opened a door on the chip meter, hot steam, chemicals and woodchip poured out, causing ”serious chemical and thermal burns” to both employees.
In its findings released last week, WorkCover found the men worked on the chip meter before the chemicals and wood chip were removed.
Neither employee was wearing a chemical protective suit.
WorkCover alleged that the company failed to provide adequate supervision, training and instruction for the maintenance work, which meant it was not carried out according to company procedures.
”Although the company had a range of safety policies, [it] had failed to adequately enforce those procedures and as a result workers were seriously injured,” WorkCover said.
A company spokesman described the incident as ”highly regrettable” and said the company placed the utmost importance on the health and safety of its workers. The mill was hit by a fire in an outdoor storage area on January 22 that shut down operations and burned through 1500 tonnes of waste paper, nearly half the amount kept at the site.
That fire smouldered for more than a week, before reigniting on February 2.
WorkCover work health and safety division general manager John Watson said the two men hurt in the 2008 incident were lucky to escape without more serious injury.
Mr Watson said WorkCover would work with the company to make sure the incident was not repeated.