State investigating blueberry farm after temp worker dies
SEATTLE -- 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.
Our news partner The Seattle Times reported Wednesday that Washington Labor and Industries 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 on a temporary, agricultural-worker visa, H-2A, from Mexico.