Washington Dairy Bottling Plant Hit with $1.8M Fine for Safety Violations

October 7, 2019

A Battle Ground, Wash., dairy bottling and distribution operation has been hit with a large fine for multiple violations after a worker’s hand was crushed in the bottling plant.

The Department of Labor & Industries has fined Green Willow Trucking, also known as Andersen Plastics and Andersen Dairy, $1.8 million for 22 willful violations, 16 of which were also determined to be egregious.

It’s the second-largest safety and health fine L&I says it has ever issued.

This inspection was initiated after a worker at the company’s bottling facility had her hand crushed in a plastic bottle-molding machine while she was trying to clear a jam.

Employees at the company have reported serious injuries and amputations over several years. Many of those injuries triggered inspections, according to L&I.

In 2014, 2015 and 2018, L&I cited the company for willful and serious violations related to lockout/tagout and machine guarding hazards

Twenty-two of the violations for this 2019 inspection are considered serious in nature and willful. The situation is so serious that 16 of the violations are also defined as egregious. L&I cited the company for one egregious willful violation for each employee exposed to the amputation/crushing hazards.

Most of the violations were a result of the employer requiring or allowing workers to put their limbs or bodies inside machines while they are still operating. These are known as lockout/tagout violations because companies are required to ensure machines are completely locked out from electrical and mechanical energy before employees reach or climb into them.

Over the past six years, there have been at least 10 serious incidents including amputations, crushing injuries and broken bones. The continued failure to adopt known and required safe practices is why L&I deemed these violations egregious.

Employers have 15 business days from the time they receive a citation to appeal.

Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.

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Insurance Journal West October 7, 2019
October 7, 2019
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