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Region 1 USDL 04-1021-BOS / BOS 2004-134
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075


OSHA Cites Two Employers Following Fatal Accident in Portland Harbor

AUGUSTA, Maine -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two employers involved in the construction of offshore oil rigs in Portland Harbor for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in connection with a Jan. 13 accident that killed one worker and seriously injured two others.

A lifeboat containing three workers was being lifted back to its stowed position aboard the oil rig, the Pride Rio de Janeiro, following a lifeboat drill when the boat's sternhook failed, dropping the lifeboat and the workers approximately 60 feet into the harbor.

"The workers should not have been in the lifeboat when it was being raised back to its stowed position," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director for Maine. "OSHA standards prohibit it. Had proper safeguards been followed, they would not have been in the lifeboat after the drill and therefore not exposed to serious injury and death."

Two other hazards, not directly related to the accident, were also cited. They involved a Billy Pugh personnel carrier used to raise and lower employees to different levels of the rig. Specifically, no personal fall arrest systems were provided for workers riding in the personnel carrier and no one was operating a tag line on the rig's lower level to prevent the personnel carrier from swinging or swaying when being used in windy conditions.

Cited for these hazards were Pride International, Inc., which employed the three workers, and Petrodrill Engineering, NV, the project's construction manager. Each was fined $13,950 for three alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Pride International, Inc. faces an additional fine of $100 for an alleged other than serious violation for not maintaining an illness and injury log.

Pride and Petrodrill each have 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by the OSHA's Augusta area office. The telephone number is (207) 626-9160.

Separately, the U.S. Coast Guard has issued a marine safety alert regarding potentially serious safety hazards involving the lifeboat's release mechanism. It is available at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/gm/moa/docs/1-04.htm.

The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and promoting the health and safety of America's workers. In fiscal year 2002, the most recent year for which data has been published, there was a 6.6 percent decline in work-related fatalities in the U.S. In FY 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, and more than half focused on high-hazard industries. For more information visit www.osha.gov.


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U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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