Seattle-based company cited in death of longshore worker

SSA Marine was cited for five safety violations after one of its workers was struck and killed by a cargo container falling from a crane.

An investigation into the death of a worker at the Port of Long Beach in California has led the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to cite SSA Marine with five safety and training violations. The Seattle, Washington-based company provides marine and rail terminal services throughout the U.S., Central America, South America and Asia. The proposed fines total $92,100, including $70,000 to be classified for willful violation, according to an OSHA release.

On January 19, a longshore worker died when he was struck by a 40-foot-long shipping container that fell from a height of about 200 feet. SSA Marine was cited for willful violation of OSHA regulations that prohibit employees from working beneath a suspended container. Willful violations, as defined by OSHA, are having specific knowledge of, yet disregarding safety regulations.

The other violations the company was cited for involve not providing adequate safety procedure training for its employees or proper supervision of said workers and machinery.

"SSA Marine failed to prevent this worker from being in harm's way," said Jay Vicory, OSHA's area office director in San Diego, in a statement. "It's critical that employers make workplace safety a priority so that every longshore worker returns home safely at the end of the day. Losing one worker is one too many."

Jaime Neal, vice president for SSA Marine, told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that the company could not comment on the incident but that it remained committed to worker safety and is working closely with OSHA investigators.

OSHA regulations are in place to prevent such tragedies from happening, but without the proper training they have difficulty preventing them. An online learning management system can drastically improve the safety preparedness of companies like SSA Marine. It provides protection for both the employer and employee, and can make injury and death investigations less frequent.

Also, continuing education classes online can ensure that longtime workers are kept up to date on the latest safety regulations and practices.


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