OSHA Investigation into Deadly Dive Accident

by | Jul 23, 2022 | Maritime Law, Wrongful Death

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has completed its investigation into the December 2021 drowning of a commercial diver in Florida.  During the incident, the worker drowned in a golf course pond.  The diver and a co-worker were retrieving golf balls from a pond when he became unresponsive.  The diver was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The OSHA investigation found that Ballhawker of Florida Inc. did not follow required safety standards. Following the investigation, OSHA issued multiple citations, related to the below violations:

  • 29 CFR 1910.410(a)(1): Each dive team member did not have the experience or training necessary to perform assigned tasks in a safe and healthful manner
  • 29 CFR 1910.410(a)(3): All dive team members were not trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid (American Red Cross standard course or equivalent)
  • 29 CFR 1910.410(c)(1): The employer or an employee designated by the employer was not at the dive location in charge of all aspects of the diving operation affecting the safety and health of dive team members
  • 29 CFR 1910.420(a): The employer did not develop and maintain a safe practices manual
  • 29 CFR 1910.421(b): The employer did not maintain the following at the dive location: a list of the telephone or call numbers for an operational decompression chamber (if not at the dive location), accessible hospitals and available physicians
  • 29 CFR 191 0.421(c)(3): An American Red Cross standard first aid handbook or equivalent and a bag-type manual resuscitator with transparent mask and tubing was not available at the dive location
  • 29 CFR 1910.42l(g):The breathing gas supply system, including reserve breathing gas supplies, masks, helmets, thermal protection, and bell handling mechanism (when appropriate), was not inspected prior to each dive
  • 29 CFR 1910.422(c)(1)(i): An operational two-way Communication system was not provided during a surface supplied air or mixed-gas between the diver and a dive team member at the dive location
  • 29 CFR 1910.425(c)(1):Each surface-supplied air diver was not continuously tended while in the water
  • 29 CFR 1910.430(b)(4): The output of air compressor systems was not tested for air purity every six months by means of samples taken at the connection to the distribution system
  • 29 CFR 1910.430(g)(1): Gauges indicating diver depth, which can be read at the dive location, were not used for all dives

Commercial divers face risks and hazards that must be planned for before work begins.  It goes without saying that safe companies must have adequate policies and procedures to protect their workers.  It is not just workers who are at risk, but also members of the public or employees of other companies.  Of course, adequate training of workers is also required.  Whether it is a commercial diver or the supervisor, everyone involved must know what is required to safely perform the task.  It is more than merely having a written down procedure, companies must ensure that their workers understand and follow what has been developed.

Here, a worker tragically lost his life as a result of the failures found in the OSHA investigation.  OSHA provides commercial diving guidelines which should have been followed.

Our experienced lawyers have handled personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits of all kinds and have the skills needed to represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or those who have been seriously injured in a diving accident.  The experienced construction personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was a victim of an accident.

Our lawyers have represented numerous workers who have sustained serious and catastrophic injuries on a job site as a result of the negligence of another party.  There are strict and short time limits on making claims, so please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.