OSHA Files Repeat Citations, $72,500 Fine Against Shipping Company

Horizon Lines of Puerto Rico Inc. had recurring problems at the Puerto Nuevo Port Area marine terminal in San Juan, said José A. Carpena, OSHA's area director for Puerto Rico.

Scarcely a month after parent company Horizon Lines Inc. received a 2009 Jones F. Devlin Award from the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) for operating a vessel at least two years without a seafarer's being involved in a lost-time injury, Horizon Lines of Puerto Rico Inc. has been fined $72,500 by OSHA for what the safety agency described as recurring problems at its Puerto Nuevo Port Area marine terminal in San Juan. An employee complaint triggered an investigation by OSHA's Puerto Rico Area Office that began June 7, according to OSHA.

"Workers performing stevedoring operations at the terminal were exposed to potential crushing, fall, electrical, and struck-by hazards while operating loaders, trucks, and cranes with safety deficiencies," said José A. Carpena, OSHA's area director for Puerto Rico. "We are concerned that several of these conditions are similar to hazards cited during an earlier OSHA inspection. For the safety of its workers, this employer must correct these hazards and ensure they do not happen again."

The earlier investigation took place in October 2006 and found similar hazards at the terminal, according to OSHA, which said the 2010 inspection discovered top loaders and trucks operated with inaudible or inoperable back-up alarms and also inoperable or missing headlights, brake lights, horns, and wipers. Also included in the citations were alleged electrical and PPE violations. Horizon Lines of Puerto Rico Inc. has 15 business days after receiving the citations a to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest them before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

"One means of preventing recurring hazards is for employers to establish an effective comprehensive workplace safety and health program in which their workers take a continuous and active role in evaluating, identifying and eliminating hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

CSA gave awards to six vessels in 1950, the first year for the annual Devlin Awards. On June 3 in New Orleans, the organization presented awards to 1,094 vessels that had operated a combined 7,108 years without a lost-time incident, according to CSA President Joseph Cox.

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