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Region 9

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June 10, 2015

OSHA orders safety upgrades after 7-ton buoy hits, kills
2 workers and injures 2 others at Pearl Harbor naval facility
Deaths and injuries were preventable, investigation finds

HONOLULU – Stronger safety measures may have saved the lives of two workers who died at a Pearl Harbor naval maintenance facility in December 2014 after being struck by a 7-ton buoy, which has led the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration to order safety upgrades.

Workers at the Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance Office were upgrading moorings on a barge when the capture plate separated from the base plate of a buoy, causing it to fall. As a result, the wire rope sling over the buoy became taut and broke, releasing the buoy that struck the men. Two other workers suffered injuries during the incident at the Middle Loch facility. The work was subcontracted to Healy Tibbitts Builders Inc. by Truston Technologies Inc. for the Navy.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those killed and injured," said Jeffrey Romeo, Honolulu OSHA area director. "Navy personnel and contractors they hired should have taken a series of common-sense steps to protect workers from facing dangerous conditions on-the-job. The best thing we can do to honor these fallen workers is to make sure similar accidents don't happen in the future."

OSHA issued citations for the following violations:

  • Failing to protect employees from impalement hazards.
  • Neglecting to follow written Navy procedures.
  • Exceeding the rated capacity of a wire rope sling to suspend a load.
  • Subjecting a wire rope sling to a shock load.
  • Failing to provide safe access to the top of a concrete sinker.

View the citations at*.

OSHA is proposing $46,000 in penalties for the violations.

Truston Technologies, based in Annapolis, Maryland, and Healy Tibbitts, in Aiea, have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Honolulu, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, 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.

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


Media Contacts:

Leo F. Kay, 415-625-2630,
Jose A. Carnevali, 415-625-2631,

Release Number: 15-1137-SAN

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