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February 17, 2023
Fishing vessel facing $208K in OSHA fines

The owner and operator of a 472-ton Alaskan seafood processing vessel faces $208,983 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties, the agency announced February 16. OSHA cited Christos Tsabouris and East West Seafoods LLC for 2 repeat serious violations, 17 serious violations, and 1 other-than-serious violation on the F/V Pacific Producer.

During a joint inspection in Seattle with the U.S. Coast Guard, OSHA inspectors found murky, brown water in the ship’s drinking water system; crew members’ being served expired food; water used to process fish leaking into dry food storage and the galley’s dining area; and other unsanitary conditions throughout the vessel.

OSHA also discovered that employees were exposed to electrical hazards throughout the vessel, including broken outlets and outlets near water, damaged and improperly installed electrical equipment, exposed wiring, and ungrounded extension cords. Inspectors also found the vessel had no fire suppression system, exposing the crew to fire hazards.

East West Seafoods has a history of OSHA violations. The agency cited the employer in 2012, 2014, and 2018, when inspectors found similar sanitation hazards; electrical and fire hazards; and a lack of lockout/tagout, machine guarding, and fall protections. Inspectors also identified an ammonia leak in 2018.

“Alaskan fishing industry workers depend on their employers for vessels that don’t jeopardize their safety and health,” Jack A. Rector, OSHA’s acting Seattle regional administrator, said in a statement. “For more than a decade, our inspectors have found disgusting and dangerous conditions aboard the F/V Pacific Producer, and the well-being of crews aboard the vessel are at great risk because of its owner’s failures.”

OSHA’s Region 10 office has a local emphasis program (LEP) for floating seafood processors. Fishing is one of the nation’s most dangerous industries, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ohio toolmaker facing $165K OSHA fine

A tool manufacturer in Barberton, Ohio, faces $164,742 in proposed OSHA penalties after a worker suffered a thumb amputation—the third worker to become injured in less than 2 years.

OSHA cited Wright Tool for one willful violation of machine guarding standards, as well as two serious violations and one other-than-serious violation, the agency announced February 16.

On October 26, 2022, a worker suffered a left thumb amputation while hand-feeding parts into a drill press using air-activated clamps. The worker had been on the job for just 3 months. In December 2020 and June 2022, 2 other workers performing similar tasks suffered laceration injuries.

Inspectors found the company failed to conduct hazard assessments to identify personal protective equipment needs and other requirements, did not test energy control (lockout/tagout) procedures at least annually, or train employees to ensure they understood hazardous energy control procedures and failed to enclose shafting.

“Wright Tool was aware of the need to improve their guarding but failed to do so,” Howard Eberts, OSHA’s Cleveland area director, said in an agency statement. “Without proper guards and safety procedures in place, moving machine parts can cause severe workplace injuries.”

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