Fine issued in worker’s death at Ionia plant

An undated courtesy photo of Wanda Holbrook.

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — The state has issued a $7,000 fine to a plant in Ionia where a worker was killed in an industrial accident last summer.

Wanda Holbrook died in July 2015 after becoming trapped in robotic machinery at Ventra Ionia LLC, located on Beardsley Road near Bluewater Highway.

On Jan. 21, 2016, the Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration (MIOSHA) cited Ventra for failing to utilizing a lockout when a worker entered the robotic cell and proposed a $7,000 penalty.

Ventra can appeal the citation within 15 days of receiving it.

That appeal could result in a reduction to the fine, which is common in Michigan. In 2013, Target 8 found that low fines for companies were often reduced by half or more, even in cases where someone died. The state says it tries to educate employers before problems arise and that reducing fines encourages employers to quickly fix problems. A federal law was proposed in 2013 to increase penalties for workplace safety violations, but it never came to a vote.

Ventra does stamping, welding, chrome plating, molding, assembly and testing for chrome-plated plastics, front and rear bumpers, and trailer hitches.

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