OSHA Cites Miami Companies After Worker Fatality

OSHA is proposing penalties against four Miami companies for safety violations following a fatality at the Bernuth Marine Terminal.

In May, an investigation was initiated following notification to OSHA of a possible occupational death when a longshoreman was missing for two days. The employee of Miami Stevedoring Services (MSS) apparently fell overboard from the top of a container that was onboard a cargo vessel.

MSS is receiving willful citations related to the fatality for exposing workers to fall hazards while working from the ship's intermodal containers and failing to provide workers with personal floatation devices while working onboard ships. The company is also receiving a willful citation for operating powered industrial trucks that had broken and missing equipment, along with two repeat, six serious, and one other-than-serious violation.

Inspections of the other three companies--Island Stevedoring LLC, Bernuth Agencies Inc. and Marine Diesel Inc.--were started during the fatality investigation based on violations observed by the OSHA compliance officer. Bernuth Agencies owns the marine terminal where MSS was contracted to provide stevedoring services. Marine Diesel provides equipment repair at the terminal. Island Stevedoring currently provides the stevedoring services, replacing MSS after the fatality.

Island Stevedoring is being cited with two willful and nine serious violations. Bernuth Agencies is being cited with four serious and one other-than-serious violation. Marine Diesel is receiving five serious violations.

"Working around containers is dangerous. However, it can be done safely if employees are provided the required equipment to perform their duties, and management enforces the OSHA standards," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "The cost of human life is far too great a price to pay for anyone to ignore these hazards. All of us want to see working men and women go home safe at the end of every work shift."

The agency is proposing $318,900 in penalties against the four companies. The penalties for Miami Stevedoring Services total $196,600; Island Stevedoring $90,000; Bernuth Agencies $24,800; and Marine Diesel $7,500.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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