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$46K Fine Set in Barge Painting Death

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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A deadly flash fire explosion that killed one painter and burned another aboard a barge has led to 12 federal health and safety citations and a $46,600 fine against the men's Tennessee employer.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleges that Dredge & Marine Co. LLC, of Millersville, TN, failed to take multiple precautions to prevent the ignition of paint vapors July 2 inside the compartment of the pontoon boat dredge, where painters were applying anti-corrosion coating.

 Dredge & Marine was acquired by sheet metal fabricator John W. McDougall in 2010

 Photos: Dredge & Marine Co. LLC

Dredge & Marine was acquired by sheet metal fabricator John W. McDougall in 2010.

The fire occurred at the Nashville facility of Dredge & Marine’s parent company, industrial sheet metal fabricator John W. McDougall Co.

Shawn Austin, 28, a married father of three children, died from his injuries three days after the fire. Another painter injured in the accident was not identified.

Dredge & Marine did not respond to a request Tuesday (Jan. 3) for comment.

Serious Violations

Seven serious safety citations by OSHA allege:

• Electrical hazards from inadequate and damaged extension cords;

• Failure to use explosion-proof lighting;

• Failure to use an explosion-proof fan with nonferrous blades;

• Failure to properly stage paint buckets, spray guns and cell phones to prevent sparking;

• Failure to provide fall protection to employees working from the barge deck;

• Inadequate exhaust ventilation; and

• Failure to bond and ground the paint pot and spray guns.

Five serious health citations allege:

• Failure to test the oxygen content of a confined space before employees began work;

• Lack of employee training in confined-space work;

• Failure to provide a shipyard rescue team or notify an outside rescue service while employees worked in a hazardous atmosphere in a confined space;

• Failure to continuously monitor the confined-space atmosphere; and

• Failure to stop work while determining whether the space was safe for entry after spray painting.

Serious violations reflect “substantial probability” of death or serious injury from hazards about which an employer knew or should have known.

‘Tragic Incidents’

“Tragic incidents can be avoided by following OSHA’s standards and safety requirements,” said William Cochran, OSHA’s area director in Nashville. “It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that workers are trained and provided with appropriate equipment so they can perform their duties safely.”

Founded in 1985, Dredge & Marine specializes in new dredges, reconditioning used dredges, equipment and parts sales, and brokerage services. McDougall acquired the company in October 2010.

 The company reconditions used dredges and sells new ones
The company reconditions used dredges and sells new ones.

Neither company has a previous record with OSHA.

Dredge & Marine has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the agency’s findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Federal OSHA has jurisdiction over the maritime industry in Tennessee.


Tagged categories: Corrosion protection; Fall protection; Fatalities; Industrial Contractors; Marine Coatings; OSHA; Ventilation; Violations

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