OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 4 News Release: USDL: 00-14
Monday, Feb. 14, 2000
Contact: Eugene Stewart
PHONE: (601) 965-4606
OSHA FINES PASCAGOULA, MISS., MARITIME CONTRACTOR $126,000 FOLLOWING TRIPLE FATALITY
Other Contractors On-Site Receive Total Fines of $18,200
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Friede Goldman Halter Inc., and proposed penalties totaling $126,000 for safety and health violations found at the company's Pascagoula, Miss., worksite. The penalties resulted from investigations which began after a fatal accident in August 1999.
According to Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson, Miss., area director, three workers fell 123 feet to their deaths when a suspended scaffolding system failed. A fourth worker was saved by his fall protection harness. "Following the accident, we conducted a fatality investigation followed by comprehensive safety and health inspections of the facility," said Payne.
OSHA's fatality investigation resulted in two serious safety citations against Friede Goldman Halter for violations involving exposure of workers to falls while working on unfinished scaffolding without proper lanyard and safety harness protection.
The expanded safety inspection resulted in 37 additional serious citations for hazards related to electrical shock, falls, and worker exposure to being struck by or caught in machinery and equipment. Total proposed penalties for the safety violations found during both investigations were $113,500.
An additional penalty of $12,500 was proposed for violations found during the health inspection of the facility. These included hazard communication, employee personal protective equipment, and hazardous atmospheres.
Separate citations issued to seven other contractors on the site resulted in penalties totaling $18,200. The additional contractors are: Bill Brown, International Marine Industrial Applications, Jamestown Metal Marine Sales, Inc., Loadmaster Rig Services, Inc., Noble Drilling, Powerhouse Electric Division, and Southern Scrap.
"The maritime construction, repair and manufacturing performed by companies in this highly hazardous industry require that safety and health measures are in place to prevent accidents," said Payne. "Such measures save lives, reduce workers' compensation costs, improve employee morale, and ultimately increase company profits."
Payne added, "Appropriate testing and evaluation of the scaffolding systems prior to being placed in service and use of proper personal protective equipment would help to ensure that accidents of this nature would not occur in the future."
A serious violation is defined by OSHA as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
Friede Goldman Offshore, Inc. employed approximately 5,000 workers in its east and west bank facilities which were considered one entity for purposes of OSHA's inspection. The company, which completed a merger with Halter Marine Group, Inc., shortly after OSHA's inspection, has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspections of the worksite were conducted by OSHA's area office located at 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210, Jackson, Miss. 39211-6323; telephone: (601) 965-4606.
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