A local barge company has been cited for 40 safety violations following an April flash fire that left two employees dead at its Freeport facility.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration cited Texas Barge & Boat Inc. with one willful and 39 serious violations, as well as penalties of about $220,000, after inspectors investigated the incident. The company has 15 days to comply with or contest the citations and fines.
The fire occurred when sparks ignited fumes near the bottom of the barge, where the two men were working, according to the OSHA report. The barge was in dry dock, and the men were performing cutting work in the area between the cargo hold and bottom plate of the vessel, known as the “hopper space.”
The willful violation, imposed for not having an employee conduct an air monitoring test before the men entered the space, accounted for about 25 percent of the fine.
OSHA reported that some of the serious violations were corrected at the time of the inspection.
The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent barge workers and other maritime workers who have been injured while on the job.