Representatives from Pendleton Woolen Mills, in Washougal, and the State Department of Labor & Industries have agreed to settle an appeal regarding citations of workplace violations.
The settlement states the Sept. 13 agreement is entered into for the “purpose of expediting the abatement of workplace hazardous exposures and precluding protracted and expensive litigation.” The total assessed penalty has been reduced from $93,300 to $46,650.
This summer, the State Department of L & I notified Pendleton officials about 21 violations in several categories. An inspection was opened on Dec. 19, 2011.
Examples of violations mentioned in the citations include not labeling containers of hazardous chemicals with the name of the chemical and appropriate hazard warnings, not informing and training employees about hazardous chemicals in the workplace and not requiring employees to use hearing protection when their noise exposures exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 decibels.
In exchange for the penalty reduction, Pendleton has agreed to take extra steps. They include sending at least two employees to forums such as the Washington State Governor’s Safety and Health Conference. Pendleton must design engineering controls for cited machines and install guards.
Charlie Bishop, vice president of mill operations at Pendleton, has said the company’s management and employees fully cooperated with the Department of L & I during the inspection. That process, which took more than six months, included eight site visits and hundreds of hours of employees’ time.
The 300,000 square foot mill, located at Two Pendleton Way, has 190 employees. It manufactures wool textiles, for use in blankets, men’s and women’s clothing and upholstery.