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Western Sugar Cooperative deaths and fines

Western Sugar Cooperative deaths and fines

How many deaths does it take before a company changes its ways? How many fines must a company face, before they realize the severity of violations? For Western Sugar Cooperative, it might be over $116,000 and several injuries and deaths before they acknowledge the lack of safety in their company. Currently, the company faces about $116,000 in OSHA fines, after recent investigations sparked by a death.

The death in Western Sugar Cooperative occurred in the pulp drying area of the plant, no other explanation was given. However, another death occurred earlier the same year, when a worker fell through a floor opening into processing equipment. Other fines were charged in relation to this death. An injury also occurred in the same plant, causing more fines to be placed on the company.

After investigations following the most recent death, it was found that there were at least 17 health and safety standards being violated. Unfortunately, this is not the first time these violations have been discovered in the company. These violations were deemed either “serious” or “repeat,” inferring that these violations have been cited before. Five of the more serious violations include: fall hazards, unguarded floor holes, and electrical equipment not approved for use in areas where coal dust can collect. The “repeat” violations involve the use of temporary wiring, excess buildup of combustible coal dust, unguarded shaft ends, and open electrical junction boxes.

Currently, the company is working to address safety concerns in the factory. They plan to meet with OSHA and find the best ways to resolve the issues they are facing. Unfortunately,  the deaths that occurred in the factory cannot be undone. However, with the proper safety procedures, training, and followed standards, more deaths may be preventable in the future at Western Sugar Cooperative.

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