Following the drowning death of an untrained worker, Lucas Marine Acquisition Co. LLC has been cited for 22 safety violations by OSHA. The employee died while doing surface supplied-air diving during underwater construction activities for the City of Fort Pierce Marina storm protection project on Aug. 6, 2013.
"Lucas Marine intentionally disregarded safety standards and sent construction workers underwater without proper training and without adequate equipment," said Condell Eastmond, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale.
Due to the willful violations found at the site, the company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities or job sites.
OSHA issued three willful citations for the employer's failure to:
- Ensure workers performing underwater diving operations had adequate experience and training to perform the work safely.
- Provide employees engaged in diving operations with two-way voice communications for emergency assistance.
- Ensure the designated person-in-charge was trained and had experience with planning, performing and overseeing dive operations safely.
No CPR training
Additionally, 12 serious violations include failing to provide members of the dive team with CPR training; assess the hazards of underwater conditions to include tidal current, underwater obstructions, limited visibility and marine traffic; inspect the air compressor, filters or regulators; and provide divers with a kink-resistant air line during dive operations. To view the current citations and seven other-than-serious violations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/LMAC_926866_20140204.pdf*
OSHA has proposed $290,000 in penalties.
OSHA last inspected the company in March 2013. The inspection resulted in one serious and one other-than-serious citation in response to the death of an employee who was struck by a front-end loader that loaded barges. The employer entered into a settlement agreement with OSHA on Sept. 13, 2013, and paid $2,000 in penalties for the serious violation of failing to protect a 500-gallon portable steel tank containing diesel fuel from collision damage by a front-end loader.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, fatal work injuries in Florida accounted for 209 of the 4,383 fatal work injuries reported in 2012. Additional details are available at http://bls.gov/iif/home.htm.