Roofing manufacturer IKO Pacific has been fined $98,000 by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) following an investigation into a worker’s death last summer.
According to the L&I, a worker was cleaning the inside of a tank in Sumas, Wash., on July 17, 2021 when an agitator arm inside the tank turned on, resulting in his death. L&I cited IKO Pacific for 17 serious violations and one general violation, noting the company “failed to control the power supply to dangerous equipment” and failed to properly supervise work in confined spaces.
The investigation revealed IKO Pacific had a written energy control plan as well as a written confined space entry program.
“It was clear this company knew what needed to be done since they had plans in place that, if properly implemented, could have prevented this tragedy,” said Craig Blackwood, L&I assistant director. “Lockout/tagout and energy control are fundamental safety measures that have long been commonplace on worksites. Tragic accidents like this one show exactly why they continue to be important.”
IKO Pacific has appealed the citation and fines, according to a release from L&I.
“With the matter in the process of being appealed we're going to have to let that process take its course before we'll have much to say,” IKO Pacific spokesperson Derek Fee told RC. "Obviously we're disappointed with the findings of L&I with the decision that they've made, we don't agree with it, and consequentially that's the reason for the appeal."
Energy control incidents happen when machinery unexpectedly or accidentally gets power and starts up because the power source isn’t shut off or “locked out.” Because of the dangers of working in enclosed spaces, businesses are also required to take specific steps to keep workers safe in these confined areas.
“The company failed to have an authorized employee specifically responsible for checking to ensure the safety of the tank,” the L&I release stated.