OSHA has cited stevedoring services company SSA Marine with five safety violations – including one willful – following an investigation into the January 19th death of a worker at the Port of Long Beach, California. OSHA’s investigation determined that the worker was fatally crushed when a 40-foot-long shipping container was dislodged from the top of a stack of containers during unloading operations aboard the vessel Cosco Japan. Proposed penalties total $92,100.
The willful violation involves failing to prohibit employees from working beneath a suspended container. 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. The citation carries a proposed penalty $70,000.
Three serious violations include exposing workers to crushing hazards when they were permitted to pass near or around the deck loads, failing to provide accident prevention courses to immediate supervisors of a cargo handling operation of more than five persons and failing to provide supervisors who oversee five or more machinery operators with training on accident prevention within 90 days of their appointments. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The citations carry proposed penalties of $21,000.
One other-than-serious violation involves failing to record workplace injuries and illnesses as required in the OSHA 300 log. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. The citation carries a proposed penalty of $1,100.
“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 from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.