Anywhere there is machinery that requires maintenance, the potential exists for workers to be injured or killed by unexpected start-up. That includes amusement parks.
OSHA has fined Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark and Resort in South Padre Island, Texas, $96,000 in connection with the fatal crushing of a lifeguard and severe injuries to a maintenance supervisor in a wave generation machine.
In March, after the lifeguard and supervisor entered the machine, it was inadvertently activated, causing the two workers to be pinned between the gate and the wall of the wave machine.
OSHA issued a willful violation for failing to develop, document and use procedures to control potentially hazardous energy for equipment such as, but not limited to, the wave generator. This fine was for $70,000, the maximum for a willful violation.
The agency also handed five serious violations to the waterpark for failing to:
- provide standard railings on the open sides of all exposed stairways and stair platforms
- conduct inspections of the energy control procedures
- train workers to recognize hazardous energy sources and procedures
- guard water pumps with rotating shafts, and
- firmly secure an electrical junction box to a wall.
The serious violations totaled $26,000.
The park has 15 days to decide whether to contest the citations.
Settlement in heat-related death
Also this week, OSHA reached a settlement agreement with Waste Management of New Jersey in connection with the heat-related death of a worker last summer.
The settlement resolves litigation that began after OSHA’s June 2012 investigation led to a citation for one serious violation of its General Duty Clause. The violation involved workers exposed to excessive heat conditions while performing outdoor trash collection and the lack of a work rule in the company’s heat management program that addressed adequate fluid consumption.
A temporary garbage collector for Waste Management died while picking up trash on a route in Hopewell, NJ.
As part of the settlement, Waste Management has agreed to abate violations involving excessive heat hazards and pay a $5,000 penalty.
OSHA says an employer’s heat management program should:
- include a provision to allow workers to become acclimated to extreme heat conditions
- schedule work during cooler periods of the day
- make cool water available and encourage workers to drink five to seven ounces every 15 to 20 minutes, and
- establish a screening program to identify workers with health conditions aggravated by exposure to heat stress.