Region 2 News Release: 10-871-NEW/BOS 2010-290
July 6, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Horizon Lines of Puerto Rico Inc.
for repeat and serious safety hazards at Puerto Nuevo Port Area
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Recurring safety hazards at the Puerto Nuevo Port Area marine terminal in San Juan have led the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to propose $72,500 in fines against Horizon Lines of Puerto Rico Inc. OSHA cited the company for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards following an inspection opened June 7 in response to a complaint from employees.
"Workers performing stevedoring operations at the terminal were exposed to potential crushing, fall, electrical and struck-by hazards while operating loaders, trucks and cranes with safety deficiencies," said José A. Carpena, OSHA's area director for Puerto Rico. "We are concerned that several of these conditions are similar to hazards cited during an earlier OSHA inspection. For the safety of its workers, this employer must correct these hazards and ensure they do not happen again."
OSHA found several instances where top loaders and trucks were operated with defects, including inaudible or inoperable back-up alarms and inoperable or missing headlights, brake lights, horns and wipers. Employees were also exposed to live electrical parts while working in the operator's cabin of a crane and lacked eye and hand protection. OSHA cited Horizon Lines of Puerto Rico Inc. in October 2006 for similar hazards at this same location. As a result, three repeat citations, with $57,500 in proposed fines, have been issued to the company for these recurring conditions.
The latest inspection also found workers exposed to possible tip over of trucks and top loaders due to holes and unleveled terrain at the marine terminal as well as unsafe access to the crane's operator cabin, an obstructed operator's view from the crane's cabin and disconnected brake lines on trucks. These conditions resulted in four serious citations, with $15,000 in proposed fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
"One means of preventing recurring hazards is for employers to establish an effective comprehensive workplace safety and health program in which their workers take a continuous and active role in evaluating, identifying and eliminating hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Horizon Lines of Puerto Rico Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Puerto Rico Area Office; telephone 787-277-1560. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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