US Labor Department's OSHA cites B R Flowers & Co. Inc. and Tidewater
Staffing Inc. after July heat fatality in Norfolk, Va.
NORFOLK, Va. – B R Flowers & Co. Inc., a ship repair company in Hampton, and Tidewater Staffing Inc. in Portsmouth, have each been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a serious violation of OSHA's general duty clause after a temporary worker died from excessive heat while cleaning up debris on the deck of the USS Nitze. The ship was located at Pier 5 at the Naval Operations Base in Norfolk.
"This tragedy underscores how critical it is for employers to ensure frequent access to water, rest and shade during the hot summer months, and ensure awareness among workers about how to recognize and respond to signs of heat-related illness," said MaryAnn Garrahan, OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia.
The violation involves failing to develop and implement procedures for protecting workers while working outside during extreme temperature conditions. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
B R Flowers & Co. Inc. specializes in deck coating removal and application. Tidewater Staffing Inc. is a temporary staffing provider with offices in Chesapeake, Newport News, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. An additional office is located in Jacksonville, Fla.
Information about OSHA's campaign to prevent heat-related illnesses among outdoor workers can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/heat. OSHA also has a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. It is available for download on Android-based platforms and the iPhone at http://www.osha.gov/heatapp.
Each company faces proposed fines of $7,000, the maximum penalty permitted for a serious violation. Both have 15 days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, ask for an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Baltimore/Washington Area Office at 410-865-2055.
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 ensure 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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 303-693-7838 or TTY 303-693-7755.