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Ship repair company, staffing firm face fines in heat death

November 01 2013

A ship repair company and a staffing firm each face $7,000 in fines in the death of a temporary worker who died from excessive heat in July, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today.

BR Flowers & Co. Inc., a Hampton, Va.-based ship repair company, and Tidewater Staffing Inc. in Portsmouth, Va., were cited for a serious violation of OSHA’s general duty clause after a temporary worker died from excessive heat while cleaning up debris on the deck of the USS Nitze, according to OSHA. The ship was located at Pier 5 at the Naval Operations Base in Norfolk, Va. The violation involves failing to develop and implement procedures for protecting workers while working outside during extreme temperature conditions. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Each company faces proposed fines of $7,000, the maximum penalty permitted for a serious violation.

Both have 15 days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, according to OSHA.

B R Flowers & Co. Inc. specializes in deck coating removal and application, according to OSHA. Tidewater Staffing Inc. is a temporary staffing provider with offices in Chesapeake, Newport News, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, Va., and an additional office in Jacksonville, Fla.

“This tragedy underscores how critical it is for employers to ensure frequent access to water, rest and shade during the hot summer months, and ensure awareness among workers about how to recognize and respond to signs of heat-related illness,” said MaryAnn Garrahan, OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia.

A buyer and staffing firm in Texas were cited in September for the heat-related death of another temporary worker, and in June, a temporary worker died of heat-related causes while picking up trash on a collection route in New Jersey.


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