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$92K Fine Set in Port Worker’s Death

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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A Long Beach, CA, marine services company faces $92,100 in federal fines in the death of a worker who was crushed by a 40-foot-long shipping container in January.

 The worker was crushed by a shipping container that toppled from a stack.

 SSA Marine

The worker was crushed by a shipping container that toppled from a stack.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued five citations—including one willful—to SSA Marine. The incident occurred when the container was dislodged from the top of a stack of containers during unloading operations about the vessel Cosco Japan.

Willful, Serious Violations

The willful violation—OSHA’s highest level of infraction—accuses the company of failing to prohibit employees from working beneath a suspended container; the citation carries a fine of $70,000. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Three serious violations, carrying total fines of $21,000, allege:

• Allowing workers to pass near or around the deck loads;

• Failing to provide accident prevention courses to supervisors of cargo handling operations; and

• Failing to promptly train supervisors who oversee five or more machinery operators.

A serious violation reflects substantial probability of death or serious injury from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

One other-than-serious violation, with a $1,100 fine, involves record-keeping violations involving OSHA injury and illness logs.

OSHA Record

SSA Marine, which did not respond to a request for comment, provides a full spectrum of services associated with marine and rail terminal operations. The company was also cited by OSHA in February of this year and on three occasions in 2011. Those cases are pending. OSHA also issued minor citations to the company twice in the last five years and paid a total of $2,625 in fines.

“SSA Marine failed to prevent this worker from being in harm’s way,” said Jay Vicory, OSHA’s area office director in San Diego. “It’s critical that employers make workplace safety a priority so that every longshore worker returns home safely at the end of the day. Losing one worker is one too many.”

The employer has 15 business days to contest the case or comply.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Health and safety; OSHA; Shipyards

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