Workplace accident survivor revisits Alaskan site to promote employee safety

Workplace accident survivor revisits Alaskan site to promote employee safety
On June 23, Kina Repp visited the workplace site that forever changed her life 25 years ago. As the guest of Trident Seafoods CEO Joe Bundrant, she spoke and addressed workplace safety at two of Trident’s fish processing facilities in Naknek, Alaska, and other local facilities as part of a new lockout and safety training video she has in production.

“Speaking before groups of employees about workplace safety is part of the healing process for me. I find it to be beneficial, emotional and it helps bring closure,” said Repp.

Repp’s visit was exactly 25 years to the day when a horrific work accident nearly claimed her life. On June 23, 1990, she and her friend, Lisa Putnam, were new on the job at a Bristol Bay processing plant, which is no longer in operation. Between their sophomore and junior years in college, they had travelled to Alaska for summer jobs in hopes of earning enough to pay their tuition. With no training, Repp was tasked with the responsibility of cleaning conveyor belts. The sudden accident resulted in her losing her left arm.

At the time, no safety training was offered and the OSHA standard 1910.147 for lockout/tagout had been issued less than one year before. Repp is a workplace safety advocate who now represents Master Lock and delivers powerful messages and advice through personal appearances and videos to companies and their employees about the importance of workplace safety.

“At fish processing plants, work conditions are very challenging. When Lisa and I worked there 25 years ago, the floors were often wet and slippery around high powered and dangerous equipment," said Repp. "The conditions today have vastly improved. New employees receive machine guarding and lockout training and understand the risks and dangers before they begin work on the floor. When I speak before groups, I remind them how important it is to have a proper lockout program and proper training. Every day I look forward to figuring out how I can help transform safety in the workplace so others don’t experience what I did 25 years ago.”