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OSHA News Release
Region 4

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Region 4 News Release: 09-1517-ATL (013)
Jan. 08, 2010
Contact: Michael D'Aquino Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076 404-562-2078


US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Fort Lauderdale, Fla., shipping container company with repeat and serious safety violations

ATLANTA ¿ The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing $40,500 in penalties against St. John's Shipping Co. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for safety violations.

A July inspection was the result of a complaint alleging employees were working on shipping containers without fall protection.

The company is being cited with four repeat violations with a proposed penalty of $24,000 for exposing employees to fall hazards, and failing to provide workers with fall protection and personal floatation devices when working on top of shipping containers. Additionally, a spreader beam being used was not at least 36.4 feet to hoist a 40 foot container.

The citations also include six serious violations with a proposed penalty of $16,500, two of which were related to incorrect rigging of shipping containers during marine cargo handling operations. Additionally, the employer did not prevent employees from working beneath a suspended container and failed to ensure the employees had safe access to the top of the containers on the vessel. The company also failed to maintain monthly inspection records and did not have an anti-skid surface on the foot pedal of a crane.

"There is no reason to have workers exposed to serious hazards. While it's fortunate none of the workers were injured, falls remain the number one cause of death in this industry," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "One wrong step can end a worker's career or life. We want to emphasize the importance of supplying effective fall protection safeguards and training for all workers."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal meeting with OSHA's area director or indicate that it plans to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Fort Lauderdale Area Office, 1000 South Pine Island Road, Suite 100; telephone 954-424-0242.

To obtain training for their workers, maritime employers are encouraged to contact the McFatter Technical Center, which has a maritime alliance with OSHA. For more information, contact Kenneth Wiltshire at or 754-321-5739, ext. 2210.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit


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