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Fri Mar 5, 2021, 08:04 AM

Alaska labor commissioner cancels proposed $450,000 fine for seafood processor over health and

Alaska labor commissioner cancels proposed $450,000 fine for seafood processor over health and safety problems

The commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor personally intervened earlier this year to reject a proposed $450,000 fine against Copper River Seafoods despite an investigation that concluded the company disregarded health and safety regulations.

The investigation was prompted by a COVID-19 outbreak last year that sickened more than three-quarters of the workers at an Anchorage processing plant and sent two people to the hospital. Investigators said Copper River acted negligently with its COVID-19 response and, beyond that issue, accused it of failing to fix known safety problems, including one that caused a man in Naknek to lose his arm during a gruesome conveyor belt accident in 2018.

In a memo issued Jan. 18 and first published by KTOO-FM public media, Commissioner Tamika Ledbetter said she was “denying the request to move forward” with the suggested fines because of concerns “with the way in which the citations were acquired and presented for my review” and problems with the documentation behind some allegations.

Joseph Knowles, director of the Labor Department’s standards and safety division, said there were “missteps” in the way his division handled the complaint and that it “fumbled this administratively.”

Read more: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2021/03/04/alaska-labor-commissioner-cancels-450000-fine-for-seafood-processor-over-health-and-safety-problems/

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