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Plant Fined $92K After Worker Loses Finger to Conveyor

January 2, 2018
The Freeze Pak facility in Pasco, WA. Image courtesy of Google Maps
The Freeze Pak facility in Pasco, WA. Image courtesy of Google Maps

A Pasco, WA food processing plant was cited for occupational safety violations and issued $92,400 in fines by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) after a worker’s finger was amputated by a conveyor belt, the state agency announced in a Dec. 27 press release.

The state opened an investigation in to the Freeze Pak facility in Pasco last June after a conveyor belt fractured a worker’s wrist and partially amputated their finger. The worker was cleaning under the machinery when the incident occurred.

The plant was cited with six total violations: three repeat-serious, two serious and one general. Investigators determined the company did not adhere to lockout/tagout procedures, and was cited for a repeat-serious violation with a fine of $52,800.

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Two instances were uncovered where the company failed to properly guard machinery. The company was cited for the same violations in December 2014, resulting in new repeat-serious violations and a fine of $13,200.

Freeze Pak received two serious violations for lacking a energy-control program that blocks accidental equipment startups and for its failure to provide proper equipment to prevent injuries on conveyors. Investigators also identified a non-functioning “door closer” on the conveyor and issued one general violation with no fine.

L&I placed the firm on its severe violators list.

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