OSHA cites Indiana barge company for electrical, respiratory hazards

The following is the text of a news release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

Employer name: Mt. Vernon Barge Services, Jeffersonville, Ind.

Investigation site: 5804 Utica Pike, Jeffersonville, Indiana

Date investigation initiated and what prompted inspection: On Nov. 5, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Indianapolis Area Office initiated an inspection under the Local Emphasis Program for Maritime Industries. The local emphasis program was established in October 2014 to address an increase in injuries and fatalities at maritime industries.

"Electrical safety violations, improper storage of potentially hazardous materials and a failure to plan for emergency situations are immediate safety needs that MVBS must address by to prevent injury and illness in the workplace," said Vanessa Martin, OSHA's area director in Indianapolis.

Investigation findings: Nine serious safety violations were cited.

• Seven were related to electrical safety.
• OSHA's investigation found employees were exposed to electrical hazards because circuits were overloaded and flexible cords were used where permanent wiring should have been installed.
• Employees were exposed to fall hazards of 13 feet because handrails were not installed along gangways.
• Crane controls were not properly labeled and the crane's swing radius was not protected in order to prevent employees from being struck by the moving part.

Additionally, nine serious health violations were cited for:

• Lack of a respiratory protection program, including failure to identify and evaluate respiratory hazards.
• Lack of a written hazard communication program in order to prevent employees from possible exposure to hazardous chemicals and other substances in the workplace.
• Failure to establish a shipyard rescue team.
• Lack of a written fire safety plan and failure to train employees.
• Not properly storing compressed gas.
• Not providing hand protection and failure to conduct a personal protective equipment hazard analysis.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or show have known exist. Located on the Ohio River, Mt. Vernon Barge Services provides harbor services for the Port of Indiana at Mt. Vernon and other barge terminals. The company also performs topside, pumping and fiberglass repairs.

Proposed penalties: $77,400

To view citations see: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/MVBSJeffersonville1006497and1006711.pdf

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hot line at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Indianapolis Area Office at 317-226-7299.

By Professional Mariner Staff