Enforcement and Inspection

Burns, Amputations Lead to 6-Figure Fine for Washington Manufacturer

A Seattle company that manufactures electronics mounting systems and other products is facing more than $250,000 in fines for multiple serious and willful worker safety and health violations discovered during three separate inspections this year.

Operator pouring aluminum molten in to high precision casting mold

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The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), which administers and enforces workplace safety and health compliance in the state, opened one of the inspections after a worker was burned by molten aluminum, and another inspection followed amputation injuries at another worksite. The inspections identified 26 total violations, including multiple serious and willful violations, collectively resulting in fines totaling $253,320.

“We’ve cited this employer before for several of these very serious hazards, but the company continues to put its workers at risk,” said Anne Soiza, L&I’s assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

The amputations, which involved several fingers of one worker, occurred in a facility where there were five trimming presses, each of which was in some sort of disrepair. Among other problems, each machine had an emergency stop button that was either blocked, missing or in disrepair. Worn out and unaligned springs that made the operator visually line up levers were a contributing factor in the injury.

The burn injury happened at another facility where workers were carrying molten aluminum from one machine to another in ladles slung over their backs without wearing proper personal protection equipment.

“Workplace injuries and illnesses are preventable, and many of these hazards are easy to control,” Soiza said. “L&I offers free tools and expertise to help Washington employers create safer workplaces so they can save lives and money. There’s just no excuse for continually putting workers at risk.”

Because the company has been cited in the past for similar situations, the company is now considered a severe violator—a designation that carries consequences that include follow-up inspections at any of their facilities or sites that could have similar hazards.