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Lockout Failure at WA Potato Processor Leads to Severe Injury + Fines

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Pasco, WA – The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has fined Washington Potato Co. (an affiliate of Oregon Potato) $213,160 for 24 separate violations of workplace safety regulations (including lockout failure), with escalating fines for repeat violations. Washington Potato was placed on the “severe” violator label list this spring after an inspection of its Grant County plant at Warden identified numerous repeat safety violations.

Washington State Dept of L&I inspected the Washington Potato plant after a worker was seriously injured when his arm was caught in an augur. The employee had been cleaning the equipment when a second worker started the machine, unaware that his co-worker would be injured as a result. Lockout/Tagout procedures are designed to avoid this kind of accident, injury to employees, and resulting OSHA fines.

Washington State Dept of Labor & Industries found failures to prevent machinery from starting or moving during service, not properly installing guards around a pulley and belt system, an uncovered well and failure to identify “confined space” hazards such as .

A confined space, while not necessarily designed for people, is large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. They include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, wastewater pits, boilers and pipelines.

Martin Technical confined space services are designed to keep workers safe, and help companies meet OSHA regulations. Contact an expert on our Safety & Compliance team today to discuss how we can assist with determining which spaces require permits at your site, and develop a written program and specific procedures for entering each confined space.

Washington Potato is currently appealing and challenging all 24 violations. Oregon Potato said it has implemented fully compliant policies, programs and training in all the areas cited in the fine.

Read more from original source.

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