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Westward Seafoods, Inc. is facing a fine of $91,852 for exposing workers to machine guarding and struck-by hazards, said officials at the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Alaska OSHA).

The company is facing two repeat and three serious violations.

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Inspectors found the company failed to inspect slings, fastenings, and attachments prior to being used for material handling; display load rating information on equipment; and protect workers from electrical shock and ladder fall hazards.

In one repeat citation, employees were exposed to caught-under or struck-by hazards as a result of the employer’s failure to ensure each day before being used, the sling and all fastenings and attachments were inspected for damage or defects by a competent person designated by the employer.

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In another repeat citation, employees were exposed to caught-under, caught-in or caught-between hazards as a result of the employer’s failure to ensure the rated load was legibly and permanently marked in a prominent location on all of the jacks by casting, stamping, or other suitable means. This was observed during the March inspection in the vehicle maintenance shop when several floor jacks and bottle jacks were in use and lacking the required load rating.

The company was previously cited for these violations in 2015.

In one of the serious citations, employees were exposed to electrocution hazard as a result of the employer’s failure to maintain the 36-inch working space in front of the electrical panel.

Back in September 2016, an explosion likely caused by fish-meal dust caused major damage to the Westward Seafoods seafood processing plant.

The blast occurred inside the plant on Captains Bay Road, said Mike Holman, director of Alaska’s Department of Public Safety.

There were employees inside the building at the time of the explosion, but no one suffered an injury.

The blast likely occurred when an undetermined ignition source detonated dust from the production of fish meal, often used as feed for other fish, Holman said.

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