OSHA Makes Waves for Marine Terminal

A faulty scaffolding design and failing to protect workers from fall hazards have resulted in 12 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $62,500 for two contractors.

A faulty scaffolding design and failing to protect workers from fall hazards at a Mt. Pleasant, S.C., marine terminal have resulted in 12 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $62,500 for two contractors. The violations contributed to the death of an employee.

The fatality occurred at the Wando-Welch Terminal on the morning of May 30 at a jobsite supervised by Konecranes America Inc. Five employees of a sub-contractor, Palmetto Industrial Construction Inc., were preparing to refurbish a crane owned by the South Carolina State Ports Authority at the time of the accident.

The workers were on a crane, 125 feet above the wharf, building a scaffolding platform that would be used during refitting of rail lines that ran along the length of the crane boom. Two workers, who were wearing safety harnesses but were not tied off, had just finished stowing a metal scaffold plank onto the existing scaffold platform.

"While stepping onto a smaller scaffold, one of the workers fell into the Wando River and drowned," said Ken Atha, of the Columbia, S.C.-area office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). "Several factors contributed to this tragic accident, but clearly, if this worker had been properly tied off, he would not have fallen."

OSHA issued eight serious citations against Palmetto Industrial Construction Inc., with proposed penalties totaling $34,650 for alleged violations that include failing to: construct a scaffold that could support four times the estimated load weight; use scaffold-grade planking; provide safe access to the scaffolding, and establish and maintain an effective fall protection program.

Konecranes America Inc., received four serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $28,000 for similar alleged scaffolding violations.

The two companies have 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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