City approves safety upgrades at Waste to Energy after hefty fine

City okays safety upgrades at Waste to Energy

SPOKANE, Wash. --- The City of Spokane is facing a hefty fine after two city workers were badly burned at the Waste to Energy plant six months ago.

The accident that happened back in October nearly killed two workers. The two workers were hurt as they cleaned out a boiler.

Investigators found that debris in the boiler caused it to rupture, which scolded both workers with steam.

Both of the workers are still recovering from severe burns.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries fined the city 60,000 dollars for the accident after finding that the worker at the facility lacked training to deal with steam-related burns.

A report done by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries investigators found a total of 10 violations at Waste to Energy.

One violation was that employees lacked proper protective covering. The report also stated that workers had not received adequate training on how to perform rescues in the boiler part of the plant.

When added together, the total of all of the fines cost the city 59,000 dollars.

“Our staff is still reviewing all the information in that report. Certainly for us, the priority is making sure that the plant is as safe as can be,” Utilities Communications Manager at City of Spokane Marlene Feist said.

Monday night Spokane’s City Council approved safety upgrades at the Waste to Energy plant. The upgrades are not directly related to October’s accident, but instead the changes are meant to make the Waste to Energy plant safer as a whole.

As part of the new changes, workers will not be allowed to clean boiler until the devices have been totally cleared of any debris.

“They’re gonna use small, controlled detonation blasts that they shut into the boiler with no humans in there,” Feist said.

Several other safety upgrades approved on Monday were to overhaul the facility’s turbines and replace several pieces of heavy machinery.

In a proactive step the city also hired its own safety firm to scope out an additional threats at the plant. City workers are waiting for that firm to issue a report.

The upgrades will cost more than 2.5 million dollars. Renovation will begin later this year.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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