The Washington state Department of Labor & Industries has fined nearly two dozen agricultural businesses for safety and health violations this year. L&I has conducted 384 Ag workplace safety and health inspections this year. Of those 130 violations of various concerns were reported, including noncompliance when it comes to recent COVID-19 rules. Inspections are still underway, so L&I says that number could rise in the coming weeks.
The largest fines issues so far in 2020 include:
- King Fuji Ranch Inc. (Mattawa) — fined $13,500 for shelter group workers interacting with members of other shelter groups and not social distancing. The employer has 15 days to appeal.
- Gebbers Farms Operations LP (Bridgeport) — fined $13,200 for shelter group workers interacting with members of other shelter groups and no barriers in the kitchen/cooking areas. The employer has 15 days to appeal. An investigation involving fatalities has not yet been completed.
- Evans Fruit Company Inc. (Sunnyside, Cowiche and Tieton) — fined $6,600 following inspections in three locations that found employees were not wearing face masks, taking temperatures or social distancing. Evans is appealing the violations. An additional Evans inspection is still in progress.
- Agrilabor (Benton City) — fined $5,400 for violations including beds not placed 6 feet apart. Agrilabor has appealed.
- 7Point Holdings LLC, that operates as Northwest Cannabis Solutions (Elma), — fined $3,300 for employees not wearing masks or social distancing. The company has appealed.
“Our country relies on agriculture workers to grow and harvest food for our tables. We’re doing everything possible to make sure they are safe on the job,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks.
Anne Soiza, L&I assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), said, “L&I performs more agriculture worker safety and health inspections and consultations than nearly any other state in the country. This year, we stepped up efforts in this essential industry due to this new serious hazard.”
Click Here for a breakdown of L&I 2020 agriculture inspections and results is available on the L&I website. So far in 2020, L&I has conducted nearly 3,600 inspections and approximately 1,600 consultations across Washington.
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