A fish processing plant in Sumner, Washington that “deliberately exposes workers to the risk of exposure” to covid-19 during a staff meeting in 2021 and paid a $ 56,000 fine after a worker died of the virus, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries announced Monday.
Shining Ocean Inc., which did not appeal its citation, failed to enforce worm use and other rules during a staff meeting in November 2021, which directly led to the spread of COVID-19, resulting in 16 workers being infected, one of whom died, according to to the department.
Only three or four of the 23 people who attended the meeting reportedly wore a mask; The CEO of the company was not one of them. The company also did not have a system in place to verify worker vaccination status, according to the department.
When L & I inspectors asked him why the use of face masks was not maintained, he said he did not feel there was a reason for it. Employees said the company president told them it was their personal choice if they wanted to wear a mask, according to investigators.
“This happened when covid frequency and hospital stays were high and the requirement to wear masks was still in place,”; says Craig Blackwood, assistant director of L&I. “Management was satisfied with the safety of the workplace and it cost a worker his life.”
The violation is classified as intentionally serious, because the employer knew the risk, but chose to ignore the covid-19 mandates. Shining Ocean will be subject to increased review by L&I as part of the program for serious violations.