OSHA fines Western Sugar over January death

The Wyoming Dept. of Workforce Services Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed penalties totaling $71,000 against the Western Sugar Cooperative after citing the company for 12 violations stemming from the Jan. 4 death of Anfesa Marie “Ky” Galaktionoff, 28, of Lovell and Deaver.

According to a press release from the Dept. of Workforce Services issued on Thursday afternoon, May 15, OSHA initiate an inspection in response to a report of a fatality involving an employee – Galaktionoff – who fell through a floor opening in the feet wheel processing pit.

“This tragic loss of life could have been prevented. The employer failed to properly implement OSHA safety standards that require adequate guarding around floor openings,” said Dept. of Workforce Services Director Joan Evans. “The DWS OSHA investigation also revealed a variety of similar violations in many areas at the work site regarding inadequate railings and guarding.”

The inspection found a condition that merits one repeat serious violation, which exists when the workplace hazard has been cited previously for the same or a substantially similar condition and could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm. This violation carries a $14,000 fine.

The citation, noted as Citation 1-1, states that debris and foam buildup made it difficult to see the unguarded opening of the beet wheel processing pit, and sharp metal also littered the floor of the room. Additionally, the chemical storage building showed signs of numerous inadequate spill cleanups.

The citation is deemed a repeat violation because the Western Sugar Cooperative was previously cited for similar violations at its Torrington plant, according to the DWS release.

The inspection also found conditions that OSHA says merit 11 serious violations, which could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm. The 11 violations in the serious category total $57,000 in fines.

See next week’s Chronicle for complete details of the violations.