Big Fine Issued in Washington State Forklift Case

The $117,740 in penalties includes a willful violation with the maximum allowed penalty of $70,000 for not performing regular safety inspections and not fixing defective items such as broken horns and broken seat belts.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries recently announced it has cited Ocean Gold Seafoods Inc. and issued $117,740 in penalties to the company for willful and repeated serious workplace safety violations at its seafood processing plant in Westport, Wash., with many of the violations related to forklift safety.

Forklifts are among the most hazardous vehicles in the workplace, with a great risk of injury and death if they're not maintained and operated safely, L&I noted, adding that employers who knowingly and repeatedly expose workers to unsafe forklifts may face stiff penalties. In this case, the fines include a willful violation with the maximum allowed penalty of $70,000 for not performing regular safety inspections and not fixing defective items such as broken horns and broken seat belts.

L&I reported its inspection found the company rarely performed forklift inspections and defects that were reported were not fixed. "There were several instances where forklift seat belts weren't in working order, including one that was pulled completely out and wouldn't retract. Other defects included machines without working horns. This prevented operators from notifying employees in limited visibility areas that a forklift was coming through the door and put pedestrians at risk of being struck and killed," according to the agency, which also cited the employer for a repeat-serious violation with a penalty of $15,400 after the inspector saw two workers operating forklifts without wearing their seat belts. The company was cited for the same violation in August 2015.

Other violations involved fall hazards; failure to ensure emergency brakes were set on unattended forklifts; a defective stair tread; exposed electrical wires; equipment and clutter stored in front of control panels; and unsafe use of extension cords.

Download Center

  • Hand Safety Program

    Hand injuries are the #1 preventable industrial accident worldwide. In REThinking Hand Safety, the most comprehensive book on hand safety, you'll learn how top companies have reduced hand injuries by up to 90% and what the most successful hand safety programs have in common. Get your free copy today!

  • Free 1-on-1 Consultations

    Is your company ready to reduce hand injuries? Schedule a free meeting with a Superior Glove hand safety expert and learn how to reduce hand injuries, lower PPE costs, and increase worker productivity. Our 1-on-1 consultations offer personalized advice and recommendations for your specific needs and concerns.

  • Glove 101 Guide

    Choosing the right safety gloves for your workers can be a daunting task. That’s where some basic knowledge of gloves can really come in handy! In this comprehensive guide you’ll find key information you need to know about safety gloves from types of gloves and materials to additives, treatments, safety standards, and more.

  • Sample Program

    Find the right safety gloves for your team and try before you buy—in just 3 easy steps! Simply add the products you want to try to your sample box, complete the sample request form, and wait for your samples to arrive at no cost to you.

  • Water Protection Product Guide

    Find the right safety gloves for your workers that are designed to protect in wet environments. From light and flexible to heavy duty, find the best water-resistant gloves with mechanical protection to safeguard workers.

  • Superior Glove

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2022

    September 2022

    Featuring:

    • ESG
      EHS Will Guide Future ESG Success for Many Organizations
    • MACHINE GUARDING
      Handling Material Handlers: Training Beyond PIT Requirements
    • EHS SOFTWARE
      The Missing Link with EHS Software
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Noise Surveys from the Trenches
    View This Issue