Occupational Health & Safety

Barge Manufacturer Busted Following Worker's Fatal Crushing

This fatality is the third at the barge manufacturing facility since May 2010, when two other workers were killed in separate incidents on different days.

OSHA has cited Jeffboat LLC for nine safety violations, including one willful violation, at its Jeffersonville, Ind., facility after a worker was fatally crushed on Aug. 19, when he became trapped between a malfunctioning transfer car and a barge. Proposed fines total $119,000 for the nine violations.

This fatality is the third at the barge manufacturing facility since May 2010, when two other workers were killed in separate incidents on different days. OSHA has conducted five inspections since that time, resulting in citations for 46 violations, including the nine from this most recent investigation.

"Jeffboat has a responsibility to ensure that its employees are properly protected from known workplace hazards," said Ken Gilbert, OSHA's area director in Indianapolis. "Failing to ensure workers' safety and health through appropriate equipment maintenance, training, and adherence to OSHA regulations demonstrates a lack of regard for employees' lives and well-being. OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

The willful citation consists of two grouped violations. The first grouped violation is for failing to properly assemble and install pendant controllers used to operate transfer cars in accordance with instructions provided by the manufacturer. The improper installation allegedly allowed water and moisture to enter the pendant controllers, which may have caused the malfunction from the resulting corrosion. The second grouped violation is for continuing usage of equipment for which the electrical parts are corroded.

Seven serious violations have been cited for hazards such as failing to develop and implement lockout procedures involving hazardous energy control equipment, not training employees to work safely around and operate transfer cars, not inspecting transfer cars and ensuring that electrical circuits had been de-energized prior to employees performing work on equipment, and failing to provide strain relief on the pendant controllers.

One other-than-serious citation is composed of two grouped violations including failing to properly train workers on electrical hazards and the usage of electrical personal protective equipment.

A May 10, 2010, fatality occurred when an employee carrying a welder and whip line fell between the top and middle guardrails of a barge to the ground 20 feet below. A serious violation was cited for failing to keep the guardrails taut, and a repeat violation was cited for housekeeping issues, as multiple trip hazards from gas lines and structural elements were found to be present.

A May 17, 2010, fatality occurred when an employee carrying working gear was climbing up a ladder from the inside of a barge and fell. A serious violation was cited for employees carrying items up and down ladders, which prevented them from maintaining three points of contact.

Jeffboat specializes in hopper, tank, and oceangoing tank barges. The company employs about 700 workers and is owned by American Commercial Lines LLC of Jeffersonville.

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