OSHA cites Navy, companies for violations surrounding deadly buoy accident

More details are surfacing about the violations surrounding a deadly buoy accident at Pearl Harbor last December.

We first reported the violations last week, as confirmed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following an investigation.

On Dec. 10, 2014, a five-ton buoy fell about 70 feet from a crane, killing two men and seriously injuring two others at Pearl Harbor. It happened at the Waipio Peninsula, where the Navy’s inactive ships are docked.

The work was subcontracted to Healy Tibbitts Builders Inc. by Truston Technologies Inc. for the Navy.

According to OSHA, workers at the Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance Office were repairing moorings on a barge when a chain suspending the buoy broke and struck the men. Two other workers suffered injuries.

OSHA says stronger safety measures may have saved lives. It issued citations to for the following violations:

  • Failing to protect employees from impalement hazards.
  • Neglecting to follow written Navy procedures.
  • Exceeding the rated capacity of a wire rope sling to suspend a load.
  • Subjecting a wire rope sling to a shock load.
  • Failing to provide safe access to the top of a concrete sinker.

OSHA says the Navy and Truston will be cited for three violations each, while Healy Tibbitts committed five violations.

The companies will be fined a total of $46,000.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those killed and injured,” said Jeffrey Romeo, Honolulu OSHA area director. “Navy personnel and contractors they hired should have taken a series of common-sense steps to protect workers from facing dangerous conditions on-the-job. The best thing we can do to honor these fallen workers is to make sure similar accidents don’t happen in the future.”

View the citations online here.

Truston Technologies, based in Annapolis, Maryland, and Healy Tibbitts, in Aiea, have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Honolulu, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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