PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Federal safety inspectors have examined how thousands of pounds of cargo fatally crushed a 28-year-old worker in a ship’s cargo hold in Panama City.
According to a news release by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an investigation revealed that a crane operator of Premier Bulk Stevedoring LCC, lacked a clear view of employees in the M/V Weserborg’s hold below as they loaded 7-foot-high rolls of paper five at a time. When the ship rotated, the two-ton load crushed the worker against the ship’s wall, they said in a news release.
OSHA cited the Mobile, Alabama company for one repeat violation and two serious violations, determining that the employer failed to ensure the crane operator was able to see the signalman guiding the load movement.
According to officials, in December 2020, the agency issued the company a citation for a similar violation.
“Less than two years ago, OSHA cited Premier Bulk Stevedoring for unsafe loading operations and our investigation into this tragic September 2022 fatality found the company again operating in a dangerous manner,” said OSHA Area Office Director Jose Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama. “Their failure to follow established safety procedures caused a young worker to needlessly lose their life.”
OSHA also cited the employer for their failure to ensure the cargo-handling supervisors completed a course in accident prevention, proposing $43,750 in penalties.
The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.