The developers of the 136MW Skookumchuck wind farm, RES Group – composed of builders RES System 3 and general contractor RES America – have been fined by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries $360,874 and $184,800 respectively for multiple health and safety violations.
Anne Soiza, an assistant director at the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, said the developers’ violations were “flagrant and they nearly lead to a multiple-fatality incident”. She said that the companies’ breaches justified the maximum penalties under the state’s safety laws.
The violations include not having cave-in protection, having no competent person trained in trench safety on site, and having no written safety programme tailored to the project.
Soiza’s department also found that RES System 3 had acted indifferently to the site hazards and the rules, including regularly disregarding their internal safety policies and procedures, promoting a work policy designed to circumvent the requirements of the code, and providing inadequate direction to a crew doing inherently dangerous work.
An RES Group spokeswoman told WPM: "We are heartbroken by the circumstances of this situation.
"RES fully cooperated with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) during the course of this investigation."
She added: "We strongly disagree with the alleged violations outlined in the citations, and will contest the citations in the appropriate regulatory framework."