US Department of Labor cites Florida company for numerous safety failures after investigation into how 22-year-old diver working in canal drowned
MARGATE, FL – Working at the bottom of a Margate canal on April 4, 2022, a young diver was removing sand with an industrial vacuum to restore an embankment project when sediment above collapsed onto him, leaving the 22-year-old worker trapped until he drowned.
A U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation found the diver’s employer – Erosion Barrier Installations Corp. of Davie – did not follow required safety standards and issued citations related to the following violations:
- Failing to train divers in dive-related physics and physiology.
- Not training dive teams on equipment use, techniques and emergency procedures required to perform underwater tasks safely.
- Not ensuring that all dive team members are CPR-trained.
- Failing to require that an experienced dive team member supervise dredging operations in a canal with zero-visibility.
- Failing to have an emergency aid list at the worksite.
- Performing underwater dredging in a canal without a standby diver.
- Not providing employees with harnesses capable of distributing the pull forces over divers’ bodies.
OSHA proposed $46,409 in penalties to address the two willful and 10 serious violations.
“Erosion Barrier Installations Corp. ignored safety standards, and a young worker has died. The company could have prevented this tragedy by ensuring dive team members had the experience and training needed before allowing them to do this dangerous work,” explained OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Commercial divers face a variety of hazards, and employers must not allow a dive to start until all workers’ safety is assured. The risks and the cost of failure are too great.”
OSHA also cited the company in April 2011 due to a fatal diving incident.
Operating throughout Florida and the Southeast, Erosion Barrier Installations Corp. provides shoreline and seawall restorations, erosion and retaining wall repair, dredging, culvert cleaning and pipe inspections. The company offers services to residential, commercial and local government customers.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Visit OSHA’s website for information on commercial diving safety and standards. Employers can also contact the agency about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and its free help for complying with OSHA standards.