US Labor Department's OSHA cites Pacific Stevedoring Services
in American Samoa for safety violations following worker fatality
HONOLULU – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pacific Stevedoring Services, a longshoring company based in Pago Pago, American Samoa, with five safety violations following the death of a worker at the StarKist wharf in Atu'u, American Samoa.
OSHA began an investigation Aug. 8 after an employee was struck in the head by the boom of a crane, being used to unload fish, onboard the Pacific Princess tuna fishing vessel. OSHA's investigation determined that the crane's hydraulic cylinder failed when the load exceeded the crane's capacity, and that communication between the signalman and crane operator was ineffective.
One willful violation with a $42,000 penalty was cited for failing to ensure the shipboard crane's working load was not exceeded. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Three serious violations with $9,100 in penalties include failing to provide personal protective equipment such as hard hats and safety shoes, ensure that the signal person used conventional crane signals to communicate with the vessel's crane operator and provide accident prevention training to the foreman. 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.
An other-than-serious violation with no monetary penalty was cited for failing to record workplace injuries and illnesses as required. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"Ensuring that a crane operates within safe working limits is a basic requirement of OSHA's safety standards. A family has lost a loved one because these standards were ignored," said Galen Lemke, director of OSHA's Honolulu Area Office in Hawaii.
Proposed penalties total $51,100. The employer has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings to 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 Honolulu office at 808-541-2680. For employers in American Samoa, OSHA has arranged for its publications and other materials to be available at American Samoa Community College, which can be obtained by contacting Sal Poloai, dean of the college's Trades and Technology Division, by telephone at 684-699-9155, ext. 325 or 353, or by mail to P.O. Box 2609, Mapusaga, American Samoa 96799.
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.
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 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.