Safety Fines for Purina after Worker Loses Leg

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 @ 10:04 AM gHale


The Purina mill, which had a worker on a catwalk get his leg caught in a horizontal screw used to push feed through the plant and ended up having surgeons rush to the scene and amputating his leg to free him, is now facing fines from the state of Washington.

The state Department of Labor and Industries cited the plant, located on East Trent in Spokane, WA, for 16 safety issues, including the October 2013 incident that left 29-year-old David Olinger trapped in a horizontal auger.

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Olinger was working on a catwalk when his leg ended up caught in a horizontal screw used to push feed through the plant. Surgeons drove to the scene and freed Olinger from the machinery by amputating his leg.

Safety inspectors arrived the same day emergency personnel rescued Olinger from the auger hoping to find what led to his injuries. As they began investigating the mill they found what they said were 15 other safety violations.

Labor and Industries has now fined Purina $1,500 for not guarding against the equipment from starting up while Olinger was working on it.

As inspectors toured the plant they found three other places where workers ended up exposed to moving machinery and a half dozen fall or trip hazards where employees could fall up to 25 feet.

The Spokane Fire Department worried about the citation that found unsafe buildups of combustible dust in the production area of the plant.

Purina ended up receiving citations for 16 violations and ordered to pay $11,520 in fines.

“Safety is a core value and top priority for our company,” said a Purina spokesperson. “Our thoughts are with the individual who was injured.”

Purina is appealing the fines and has said through its attorney that they have told Labor and Industries that none of the 16 safety violations found are valid.



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