Commercial Diving, Disorientation Hazards Lead to Firm's $83,160 Fine

OSHA cited Trenton, N.J.-based IEW Construction Group Inc. for 12 serious safety violations found while the company was doing repair work on the Alexander Road Bridge in Princeton, N.J.

OSHA has cited Trenton, N.J.-based IEW Construction Group Inc. for 12 commercial diving and other serious safety violations found while the company was doing repair work on the Alexander Road Bridge in Princeton, N.J. OSHA initiated an investigation under its National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation and a Local Emphasis Program on Bridge and Tunnel Construction. Proposed penalties total $83,160.

The violations include employee exposure to "struck-by" and disorientation hazards when umbilical cables, which supply breathing gas and other services from a surface supply to a diver, were not clearly marked. They also include the company's failure to instruct employees in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions such as, but not limited to, struck-by and diving hazards; provide employees with a safe practice manual for diving; provide employees with decompression tables at a dive location; test air compressor systems every six months; provide depth gauges at the work site; and ensure employees performing modifications and additions on equipment recorded dates and the nature of their work.

"This company failed to meet OSHA's commercial diving operations standards and put its workers at risk of serious hazards, including drowning, hypothermia, and circulatory and respiratory problems," said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's Marlton Area Office. "All employers, especially those engaged in high-hazard activities such as diving, must provide a safe working environment for their employees."

IEW Construction Group Inc., a heavy highway construction company, employed about five workers at the Princeton bridge site.

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