OSHA records show Jeffboat broke 27 safety and health standards

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email   
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration are visiting a southern Indiana shipyard for the second time in one week. Agents have two open investigations at Jeffboat after two employees died from injuries received after falling.

50-year-old Robert Harrison Jr. of Louisville worked with the company for about 18 years. He died May 10 after falling 20 feet from a walkway on a barge. On May 13, 44-year-old Kent Martin of Corydon, IN fell from a ladder. Martin died the next day from head injuries. On the day Martin died, Jeffboat was for Harrison's funeral service.

Ken Martin, the VP and GM of Jeffboat L.L.C released a statement, giving his condolences to Harrison and Martin's families.

"Despite Jeffboat's constantly improving safety record, and the fact that the facility meets or exceeds OSHA standards at all of its work stations, it is still a heavy metal manufacturing plant with all of the challenges of an outdoor assembly line."

On May 14, WAVE 3 learned Jeffboat has been investigated by OSHA before. Records filed on OSHA's website indicate there were four investigations at the Jeffersonville shipyard between 2007 and 2009. Three of those investigations were a result of employee complaints. An investigation started May 1, 2007 resulted with the company fined more than $20,000 for 27 violations of Safety and Health Standards, 23 of which were classified as "serious."

Among the violations:

  • Failure to keep 'good housekeeping', meaning not keeping aisles and passageways on vessels or dry docks cleared when it was not being used
  • Failing to inspect equipment for rigging when required or when necessary
  • Failure to make sure a room was cleared of hazardous material if it involved work on valves or a manhole
  • Failing to properly store tools or oil cans in boxes or cabs

OSHA is investigating the accidental deaths of two Jeffboat employees. Investigators are expected to return to the plant Monday, May 17.

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