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2 Cited in Ship Repair Heat Death

Thursday, November 7, 2013

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A coating contractor and a staffing agency are each facing $7,000 in proposed penalties after a temporary worker died from excessive heat while performing surface preparation work on a ship docked at the Naval Operations Base in Norfolk, VA.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the citations Oct. 31 against B R Flowers & Co. Inc., a ship repair company in Hampton, VA, and Tidewater Staffing Inc., a provider of temporary staffing in Portsmouth, VA.

Both were cited for a serious violation of OSHA's general-duty clause after a temporary worker died in July from excessive heat while cleaning up debris on the deck of the USS Nitze in preparation for coating work.

According to OSHA, the violation involves failing to develop and implement procedures for protecting workers while working outside during extreme temperature conditions.

97°F Heat

Both companies face a proposed fine of $7,000, the maximum penalty for a serious violation. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard the employer knew or should have known about.

USS Nitze fatality
U.S. Navy

OSHA cited a ship repair company and a temporary staffing agency after a temporary worker died from excessive heat while working on the deck of the USS Nitze.

According to the citation documents, employees were preparing the ship deck for a non-skid coating application in direct sunlight with temperatures reaching 97°F. An employee who was performing cleanup operations collapsed about 6 p.m. ET and was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.

The citation documents can be viewed here (B R Flowers) and here (Tidewater Staffing).

"This tragedy underscores how critical it is for employers to ensure frequent access to water, rest and shade during the hot summer months, and ensure awareness among workers about how to recognize and respond to signs of heat-related illness," MaryAnn Garrahan, OSHA's regional administrator in Philadelphia, said in a press release.

B R Flowers specializes in deck coating removal and application. Tidewater Staffing, headquartered in Chesapeake, VA, offers a variety of staffing services from four locations in Virginia and one in Florida. 

No one was available to comment at Tidewater Staffing or B R Flowers on Tuesday (Nov. 5).

Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, contest, or ask for an informal conference with OSHA.

OSHA's Campaign

OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Campaign aims to raise awareness and teach workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather. The campaign, which started in 2011, offers resources to address heat-related illnesses.


Tagged categories: Deck coatings; Fatalities; OSHA; Shipyards; U.S. Navy

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