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Firm fined for accident that cost worker his leg

Washington regulators fined BNP Lentil Co. $2,400, following a gruesome accident last year that tore off a worker’s leg.

The Farmington, Wash.-based company paid the fine and made a handful of safety improvements at the request of state workplace safety regulators.

“When something terrible like that happens, changes have to be made,” said Dan Bruce, president of the company.

The accident happened last year when worker Tim Michael crawled inside a lentil storage bin to move a piece of machinery.

Michael stepped into an open floor hatch and his leg became entangled in a large auger that spins like a corkscrew to collect and pull lentils to a different area.

He was able to stop his body from being dragged into the auger by bracing himself and allowing his leg to be ripped off.

He required multiple surgeries in the weeks that followed.

Michael has been offered his job back, Bruce said this week. He could report for a shift within a matter of weeks.

It was the first industrial accident at BNP Lentil, and Bruce said the eight safety violations were paid in full to the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries.

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