Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-240
November 30, 2001
Contact: Ken Atha
Phone: (803) 765-5904 ext. 0
FATAL ACCIDENT AT MT. PLEASANT, S.C., MARINE TERMINAL LEADS TO PROPOSED PENALTIES TOTALING $62,500
Mt. Pleasant, S.C. -- Using a faulty scaffolding design and failing to protect workers from fall hazards which contributed to the death of an employee at a Mt. Pleasant marine terminal have resulted in 12 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $62,500 for two contractors, the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today.
The fatality occurred at the Wando-Welch Terminal on the morning of May 30 at a jobsite supervised by Konecranes America, Inc. Five employees of a sub-contractor, Palmetto Industrial Construction, Inc., were preparing to refurbish a crane owned by the South Carolina State Ports Authority at the time of the accident.
The workers were on a crane, 125 feet above the wharf, building a scaffolding platform that would be used during refitting of rail lines that ran along the length of the crane boom. Two workers, who were wearing safety harnesses but were not tied off, had just finished stowing a metal scaffold plank onto the existing scaffold platform.
"While stepping onto a smaller scaffold, one of the workers fell into the Wando River and drowned," said Atha. "Several factors contributed to this tragic accident, but clearly, if this worker had been properly tied off, he would not have fallen."
OSHA issued eight serious citations against Palmetto Industrial Construction, Inc., with proposed penalties totaling $34,650 for alleged violations which include failing to: construct a scaffold that could support four times the estimated load weight; use scaffold-grade planking; provide safe access to the scaffolding, and establish and maintain an effective fall protection program.
Konecranes America, Inc., received four serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $28,000 for similar alleged scaffolding violations.
The two companies have 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The accident investigation was conducted by the federal OSHA office located at 1835 Assembly St., Room 1468, Columbia, S.C.; phone: (803) 765-5904