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September 30, 1999

Redmond firm fined $377,900 for worker-safety violations

TUMWATER -- The Department of Labor & Industries fined Genie Industries, Inc. of Redmond $377,900 for violations of safety rules that protect workers from falling and confined spaces hazards.

Labor & Industries cited Genie Industries for eight willful and six serious citations following a six-month investigation. Workers had complained about several incidents involving fall hazards associated with chemical dip tanks.

Willful violations indicate that the employer knowingly or intentionally violated worker-protection rules, or exhibited plain indifference that a violation was occurring and failed to take corrective action.

The department concluded the firm willfully:

  • Failed to conduct a training program for employees exposed to falling into chemical tanks and from catwalks. ($45,000 penalty)
  • Failed to provide guard rails and toe boards to protect employees exposed to fall hazards posed by open-sided floors, walkways, platforms or runways above or adjacent to dangerous equipment, pickling or galvanizing tanks. ($40,000)
  • Failed to provide a horizontal lifeline for employees working from catwalks above chemical tanks or concrete floors. ($60,000)
  • Failed to enforce an accident-prevention program in that management and employees were unfamiliar with the program. Additionally, the employer didn't have an effective means for workers to report unsafe and unhealthful conditions to upper management. ($40,000)
  • Failed to conduct a complete evaluation of the workplace to determine if permit-required confined spaces were present. ($45,000
  • Failed to develop and implement necessary procedures for the safe entry of workers into permit-required confined spaces. ($45,000)
  • Failed to train employees in proper safety techniques for working in permit-required confined spaces. ($45,000)
  • Failed to have a written lockout/tagout safety program in effect for maintenance and other work performed around hazardous machinery. (Lockout/tagout prevents the unexpected energization, startup, or release of stored energy or machinery or equipment by isolating the energy source and rendering it inoperative.) ($45,000)

The department also cited the firm for six serious violations, including:

  • Failure to supply and use retrieval equipment when employees entered confined spaces. ($1,700)
  • Failure to cover two counterweights used in a conveyor system. ($2,000)
  • Failure to assure all metal barrels containing flammable liquids were bonded and grounded. ($1,600)
  • Failure to ensure that electrical fixtures were free from water or water-based paint contamination. ($1,600)
  • Failure to post warning or danger signs for employees about the existence and location of confined spaces. ($3,000)
  • Failure to complete the necessary permits for entry into confined spaces. ($3,000)

The employer has 15 working days from receipt of the violation report to appeal.

Labor & Industries manages the state's workers' compensation system in Washington and enforces workplace safety-and-health rules.

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