Grunion Gazette - Long Beach

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OSHA Cites SSA Marine In Port Death

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Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 4:58 pm

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited SSA Marine today (Thursday) in regards to an employee being crushed by a container at the Port of Long Beach on Jan. 19.

The OSHA report said SSA Marine had been cited for five safety violations — one being a willful safety violation.

Investigators said they have determined that the Jan. 19 death of the longshore worker occurred when he was fatally crushed by a 40-foot-long shipping container that was dislodged from the top of a stack of containers. This occurred during the unloading operations aboard the vessel Cosco Japan.

"SSA Marine failed to prevent this worker from being in harm's way," said Jay Vicory, OSHA's area office director in San Diego, in a statement. "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 willful violation given to SSA Marine cites the company for failing to prohibit employees from working beneath a suspended container. A willful violation officially is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. It carries a proposed penalty of $70,000.

There were three serious violations — which occur when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The proposed penalty would be $21,000 per violation. The three violations cited against SSA Marine are:

• 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.

• Failing to provide supervisors who oversee five or more machinery operators with training on accident prevention within 90 days of their appointments.

There also was one other-than-serious violation given — failing to record workplace injuries and illnesses as required in the OSHA 300 log. That violation is defined as one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. The proposed penalty would be $1,100.

The entire total of proposed penalties is $92,100. SSA Marine now has 15 business days to comply with the penalties, meet with OSHA officials or contest the report’s findings to an independent committee.

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