Maritime Contractor Fined Following Triple Fatality

Friede Goldman Halter Inc. received penalties from OSHA following a fatal construction accident that killed three workers.

Friede Goldman Halter Inc. was cited by OSHA and fined $126,000 for safety and health violations found at the company's Pascagoula, Miss., worksite.

The penalties resulted from investigations which began after a fatal accident in August 1999 that killed three workers.

According to Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson, Miss., area director, three workers fell 123 feet to their deaths when a suspended scaffolding system failed. A fourth worker was saved by his fall protection harness.

"Following the accident, we conducted a fatality investigation followed by comprehensive safety and health inspections of the facility," said Payne.

OSHA's fatality investigation resulted in two serious safety citations against Friede Goldman Halter for violations involving exposure of workers to falls while working on unfinished scaffolding without proper lanyard and safety harness protection.

The expanded safety inspection yielded 37 additional citations for hazards related to electrical shock, falls and worker exposure to being struck or caught in machinery and equipment.

"The maritime construction, repair and manufacturing performed by companies in this highly hazardous industry require that safety and health measures are in place to prevent accidents," said Payne. "Such measures save lives, reduce workers' compensation costs, improve employee morale, and ultimately increase company profits."

Fride Goldman Offshore Inc. employed approximately 5,000 workers in its east and west bank facilities, which were considered one entity for purposes of OSHA's inspection.

The company, which completed a merger with Halter Marine Group Inc., shortly after OSHA's inspection, has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations.

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