'Serious violations’ led to superyacht fires in Rhode Island
OSHA has fined Hinkley Yacht Services after two superyachts were lost to a fire in Rhode Island last December…
Last year SuperyachtNews reported that two superyacht fires had broken out at Hinkley Yacht Services Marina on Friday, December 10. At its peak, 70 firefighters were alleged to have been fighting the blaze. The 30m Ocean Alexander Drinkability and the 32m sailing vessel Danneskjold were subsequently reported as total losses. Now, six months after the incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have announced that they have issued a fine to Hinkley Yacht Services for ‘serious violations' that led to the fire.
On March 26, 2022, Hinkley yacht services were fined with a total of five violations supposedly worth $56,181, however, a settlement was reached to reduce the payment to $31,350 to be paid by the 11th of May. Furthermore, the company agreed to make the necessary corrections to the cited hazards.
At the time the fire began, it is understood that one vessel had extensive work taken place on the hull, with damage sustained to a nearby travel lift. Fire safety crews were battling the blaze for over 8 hours and continued to monitor the scene over the weekend.
Danneskjold was launched in 2009 by Southern Ocean Marine, with a GRP hull, displacement of 68 tons with 87GT. The Ocean Alexander Drinkability was launched in 2017, with an FRP hull, a displacement of 229 tons and 160GT.
The Newport Daily News have published the citations highlighted below…
According to the initial investigation, OSHA deemed the following "serious" violations occurred.
• The employer did not review the emergency action plan with each employee covered by the plan when the employee was assigned initially to a job. On or about 12/10/2021, a new employee who was exposed to a fire hazard did not receive emergency action plan training after being employed for approximately two weeks.
A proposed penalty of $14,502 was issued for this violation and subsequently reduced to $10,151.40.
• In locations where flammable vapours may be present, precautions were not taken to prevent ignition by eliminating or controlling sources of ignition. Sources of ignition may include open flames, lightning, smoking, hot surfaces, frictional heat, sparks (static, electrical, and mechanical), spontaneous ignition, chemical and physical-chemical reactions, and radiant heat.
On or about 12/10/2021, employees were exposed to fire hazards while working in an enclosed work area with flammable liquids, which ultimately ignited. This violation was corrected during inspection and a proposed penalty of $14,502 was initially issued and subsequently reduced to $10,151.40.
Ground areas around buildings and unit operating areas were not kept free of weeds, trash, and/or other unnecessary combustible materials. On or about 12/10/2021, employees were exposed to a fire hazard while working in an enclosed environment under the hull of a boat surrounded by hay bales stacked 3-high.
This violation was corrected during inspection and a proposed penalty of $11,393 was initially issued but reduced to zero as part of the settlement.
• The employer did not provide a medical evaluation to determine the employee's ability to use a respirator, before the employee was fit tested or required to use the respirator in the workplace.
On or about 12/10/2021, the employer had not performed medical evaluations for employees required to wear full and half mask negative pressure respirators prior to working with chemicals such as, but not limited to, Vinyl Ester Resin & Norox MEKP-925 hardener. A proposed penalty of $14,502 was initially issued for this violation and subsequently reduced to $10,151.40.
• Employee(s) using tight-fitting facepiece respirators were not fit-tested prior to initial use of the respirator. On or about 12/10/2021, the employer had not performed initial and annual fit testing for employees required to wear full and half mask negative pressure respirators prior to working with chemicals such as, but not limited to, Vinyl Ester Resin & Norox MEKP-925 hardener. No fine was issued for this violation, which was vacated as part of the settlement.
• The employer did not provide comprehensive, understandable training which did not occur annually and/or more often if necessary. On or about 12/17/2021, the employer did not provide comprehensive and understandable respiratory protection training to a new employee required to wear full and half mask negative pressure respirators. No fine was issued for this violation, which was vacated as part of the settlement.
• Employees were not provided effective information and training on hazardous chemicals in their work area at the time of their initial assignment and whenever a new hazard that the employees had not been previously trained about was introduced into their work area.
On or about 12/10/2021, employees were working with Vinyl Ester Resin & Norox MEKP-925 hardener and had not received adequate training in the hazards of these chemicals. This was the only violation not deemed "serious" and a proposed penalty of $1,279 was initially issued and subsequently reduced to $895.30.
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