This WALA-TV video shows footage of a fire that resulted from a series of explosions on a pair of oil barges on the Mobile River in Alabama on April 24. According to Reuters, the blasts forced officials to evacuate nearby shipyards and the CARNIVAL TRIUMPH cruise ship. As we mentioned last week, three workers were hurt in the accident. The Alabama Media Group reported on April 30 that Casey Tyson was released from the University of South Alabama Medical Center, but Dustin Benoit and George Erickson remained in critical condition.
The US Coast Guard, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department are investigating the accident. The Media Group also reported that data provided by OSHA showed that the company that was cleaning the oil barges, Oil Recovery Co. of Alabama, had “a history of safety violations but not in the recent past.” The company paid $1,000 in penalties in 1991 after OSHA alleged eight “serious” violations in 1989, and the company was cited by the federal agency for minor violations in 1990 and 1997.
The OSHA definition of a “serious” violation signifies there is a “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.” In this type of marine accidents, as others that occur near shore, the issues arise as to the injured parties work status and under what law the injured worker is entitled to compensation and which parties are responsible to the injured worker.
Latti & Anderson LLP has represented injured workers on the water their families, and you can find additional information about tug and barge accidents by visiting our website. If you sustained serious injuries or your loved one was killed while working on the water, fill out the form on this page to let our Boston maritime attorneys review your case or contact our firm at (800) 392-6072 to set up a free initial consultation.
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