Recently, a shipyard worker was killed when a 3,500-pound winch gave way and collapsed on him. The accident occurred on Monday morning at Mullins Marine Service yard in Winthrop, Massachusetts, as a boat was being lowered into the water and the anchor bolts that secured the winch were pulled out of the concrete.
The 73-year-old man was left pinned between a wall and the winch, a Winthrop building inspector said. Members of the Winthrop Fire Department were able to free the man and take him to the Massachusetts General Hospital, but he died a few hours later as a result of his injuries.
Winthrop building inspector concluded that the wench had not been sufficiently secured into the concrete, noting that the anchor bolts were fixed in at 2 ½ inches of concrete. In addition, the inspector said that the business was not properly permitted. He said that the site was renovated more than four years ago and was never re-inspected.
Apparently, the owner of the shipyard business disagreed with the inspector’s assessment. “That’s his opinion. The State Police are still doing their investigation,” she told the Boston Globe.
There will surely be a lengthy investigation in this case to uncover whether or not the wench posed a safety hazard and if the company had the requisite permits to operate its business.
Depending on the outcome investigation, the company could certainly face fines from OSHA as well as a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of the worker who was killed if any violations existed.
The whole purpose of permitting businesses is to ensure that they are operating safely so that no one is unnecessarily hurt or killed. This tragedy should serve as a reminder to other shipyard businesses to keep their permits up to date and put the safety of their employees first.
Source: Boston Globe, “Shipyard worker killed in accident,” John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane, 5/18/2011.