Chemical processor fined nearly $200,000 for violating more than 60 safety regulations
OCTOBER 18, 2022
TUMWATER — A manufacturing company that works with dangerous chemicals in Moses Lake is facing $192,620 in fines for 46 serious and 17 general safety and health violations.
Two rivers Terminal LLC formulates products for agricultural fertilizer, airports, pulp and paper, and water treatment. In addition to Moses Lake, the company has plants in Pasco and Umatilla, Ore.
"It's fortunate no one has been seriously injured or killed," said Craig Blackwood, assistant director for L&I's Division of Occupational Safety and Health. "The employer has been cooperating with us to fix the hazards, but the number and severity of violations is still alarming."
Washington state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) inspectors found 3 violations relating to confined space entry rules due to workers entering rail car hoppers. The employees were going in the hoppers to breakup and dislodge ammonium nitrate without appropriate safety precautions.
An area is considered a confined space when it's large enough and arranged so a worker can fully enter it and work, but has limited or restricted entry or exit, and is not designed for someone to be inside continuously. Employees must have special training to enter and work in confined spaces and specific safety regulations must be followed.
Inspectors also found employees working on top of rail cars and sulfur trucks without fall protection, and failing to make sure the power supply to dangerous equipment was turned off and locked so it couldn’t turn back on. Energy or power control incidents happen when machinery unexpectedly or accidentally gets power and starts up because the power isn’t shut off and “locked out.”
Violating safety requirements like these can have tragic results. In February, L&I cited a Sumas roofing materials manufacturer for similar violations that resulted in the death of an employee.
Additionally, inspectors found Two Rivers Terminal lacked site-specific safety programs, including an effective training program, and wasn’t requiring employees to wear respirators while working with hazardous chemicals where respirators were required.
Two Rivers Terminal has appealed the citation and fines.
Training and consultation
L&I provides training on lockout/tagout procedures and how to work safely in confined spaces. Businesses may also take advantage of DOSH consultation services, provided free of charge, to assist with safety plans and procedures.