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No fines from L&I in Walla Walla ferry incident

April 23rd, 2013 by ed friedrich

The second of three investigations into an incident aboard the ferry Walla Walla on Nov. 4 is complete. The first, by Washington State Ferries itself, found that human error caused an electric drive motor to heat up and melt, knocking the vessel from service for five months and costing $3 million to repair. The boat just recently returned to service.
The second, a safety and health inspection by the state Department of Labor and Industries, was released today. It assessed no penalties, which doesn’t make much sense anyway for one state agency to fine another. It found one violation that WSF must correct.
WSF didn’t ensure there was a written procedure for the lockout/tags-plus system while servicing machinery, equipment or systems with hazardous energy as required by the shipyard code. Lockout/tagout systems allow workers to physically lock out machinery and equipment before servicing it, and attach an identification tag.
The violation must be corrected by May 21.
When the ferry’s crew and Eagle Harbor electricians were stoning (machining) one of the Walla Walla’s four drive motors, there was an “uncontrolled release of hazardous energy.”
The Coast Guard is still working on its investigation.

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