BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Serious safety citation in scaffolding worker death partially affirmed

Serious safety citation in scaffolding worker death partially affirmed

An administrative law judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on Wednesday partially affirmed a serious violation stemming from a fatal incident in the dock area of the Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, in which a worker was dragged to the bottom of Galveston Bay and drowned.

The Marathon Refinery hired Excel to construct scaffolds underneath its three docks in Galveston Bay with the refinery planning to use the scaffolds when repairing and repainting the underside of the docks, according to documents in Secretary of Labor v. Excel Modular Scaffold & Leasing Co. dba Excel Scaffold & Leasing.

On Sept. 12, 2016, an Excel crew of six men was constructing a scaffold bay underneath one of the docks when one worker, named “L.G.” in court documents, crawled down the scaffolding to secure a piece, which fell into the water and dragged the worker with it. No lifesaving skiff was available at the site, records state.

Two Excel employees jumped into the water to try to rescue him but weight of the vertical leg of the detached scaffold, however, dragged him 18 feet to the bottom of Galveston Bay. Coast Guard divers recovered his body later that day, records state.

Following an investigation, the Secretary of Labor cited Excel for four serious violations of the construction standards and in 2018 dismissed two of them: failing to ensure scaffolds were constructed in accordance with the design by a qualified person and failing to have a competent person determine the feasibility and safety of providing fall protection for employees erecting supported scaffolds. 

The administrative law judge dismissed a third in the latest ruling, that which alleged that Excel failed “to ensure the anchorage points used by employees for attachment of personal fall arrest equipment were capable of supporting at least 5,000 pounds per employee,” according to records.

However, the judge affirmed one serious violation: that a “lifesaving skiff was not immediately available where employees were erecting a tube and clamp scaffold over water.”

Excel argued it “could not have reasonably foreseen the hazard that eventuated, and the absence of the skiff was not a factor in (the) fatality. Several eyewitnesses testified, without contradiction, that (the worker) fell under the water immediately and that it was not possible to retrieve him from the surface… A skiff would not have saved him,” records state.

But the judge ruled that “Excel’s failure to have a lifesaving skiff immediately available where its employees were working over or adjacent to water increased the likelihood of death or serious injury to an employee falling into the water.”

"Having a lifesaving skiff immediately available lessens the likelihood of death or serious physical injury, the administrative law judge wrote in the decision, which became a final order of the commission and fines the company a penalty of $12,675.00.

Officials with Excel could not immediately be reached for comment.





Read Next

  • OSHA releases top workplace safety citations for 2018

    HOUSTON — With one newcomer to the list — eye and face protection — and half of the violations coming from the construction industry, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Tuesday announced the preliminary top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2018.