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OSHA imposes penalties in death of two stevedoring employees


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has imposed a “current penalty” of just over $18,000 for three “serious” violations against local firm, Peter E. Reid Stevedoring, over an industrial incident at the Port of Pago Pago early this year that claimed the lives of two company workers, according to OSHA summary information publicly released on Monday this week.

As previously reported by Samoa News, OSHA — a bureau of the US Department of Labor (USDOT) — opened an investigation/inspection in April this year into the accident, which occurred Apr. 10th at the main dock.

Samoa News received confirmation at the time from friends of the two victims that four men were preforming routine maintenance on equipment at the main dock when the accident happened. Both deceased left behind wives and children. (See Samoa News edition Apr. 14th for details.)

Summary “inspection” information for this case publicly released by OSHA on its website, states that the “Initial Penalty” for each of the three “serious” violations, totaled $20,481 and each violation initially imposed a penalty of $6,827. OSHA issued the violations on Aug. 2nd.

The summary of the incident also states that the “Current Penalty” now totals $18,432 — each violation is reduced down to $6,144 — and this was abated on Sept. 24th. The online public records show that the case — which was inspected by the federal agency’s Honolulu area office, which oversees American Samoa —  is still open.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries USDOL spokesman Jose Carnevali of the USDOL Region 9, said the “citation became a final order” on Sept. 21st, and “the penalty was paid”. 

“The abatement for the three hazards [violations] identified was provided and the inspection will be closed when the company completes 30-hours of training that it agreed to attend as part of enhanced settlement terms in an Informal Settlement Agreement,” Carnevali said late Monday afternoon.

Additionally, OSHA granted an extension to the company to complete the 30-hour training to Oct. 29th.

Asked who carried out the investigation/inspection in American Samoa since there are restrictions on flights between Honolulu and Pago Pago, Carnevali responded that it was “conducted remotely by OSHA, with some assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard, who helped secure the scene and provide information about the conditions of the site at the time of the incident.”

The citation and initial penalty for each violation as well as other OSHA information was outlined in an Aug. 2nd letter from Honolulu Area director Roger J. Forstner to Peter E. Reid Stevedoring. The letter also outlined the process of requesting an informal conference and contesting the violations and penalties.

The letter also provides summary of each violation:

•           Citation 1 Item 1 — the letter quotes provisions of federal regulations and explained that the, “employer did not assure that no employee services any multi-piece rim wheel unless the employee has trained and been instructed in the correct and safe operating procedures.”

OSHA found that, a “training program was not developed and/or implemented to ensure employees were trained and instructed on the safe operating procedures for servicing multi-piece wheel assemblies. Employees were exposed to struck-by hazards.”

•           Citation 1 Item 2 — citing provisions of federal regulations, the letter says that the “employer did not ensure that tires are completed deflated by removing the valve core before a multi-piece rim wheel is removed from the axle when there is obvious or suspected damage to the tire or wheel component.”

According to OHSA, on Apr. 10th, behind the shop office — the forklift tires were not deflated by removing the valve core before multi-piece rim wheels were removed. Four multi-piece rim assemblies were previously found to have cracks. Employees were exposed to struck-by hazards.

•           Citation 1 Item 3: citing provisions of federal regulations, the letter says that the employer did not ensure that employees stayed out of the trajectory whenever multi-piece wheels are handled.

OSHA inspection found that on Apr. 10th, behind the shop office — employees demounting multi-piece rim wheels from a container forklift worked in the trajectory. Employees were exposed to struck-by hazards.

Information included in the OHSA letter and citation sent to the stevedoring company makes the employer aware that OSHA publishes information on its inspection and citation activity on the Internet under the provisions of the federal Electronic Freedom of Information Act.

And the information related to these alleged violations will be posted when “our system indicates that you have received this citation,” according to the documents.

The specific information on the citations was not posted on OSHA’s website and therefore Samoa News requested additional details and information that Carnevali had shared the OSHA letter with Peter E. Reid Stevedoring.

Details and other information pertaining to federal regulation (29 CFR 1910.177) provisions cited in the OSHA letter are found on the agency’s website []