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Washington state investigates farmworker’s death

The state Labor and Industries agency opened two separate investigations: workplace safety with health inspection and employment standards.

Published on August 10, 2017 8:51AM


SEATTLE (AP) — State officials have launched an investigation into a Sumas blueberry farm to determine if any workplace conditions caused the death of a temporary worker who died Sunday.

Honesto Silva Ibarra went to a Bellingham clinic complaining of headaches after picking berries at Sarbanand Farms. The 28-year-old collapsed and later died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The Seattle Times reported Wednesday that Washington spokesman Tim Church said the agency opened two separate investigations: workplace safety with health inspection and employment standards.

Church says the first investigation will determine if “this was a workplace-related death and, if so, how,” and the second will determine if workers were getting paid on time, and if they had appropriate rest and meals.

Ibarra, a father of three, was in the U.S. on a temporary H-2A agricultural-worker visa from Mexico.



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