The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Enterprize Management Inc. and Schlitterbahn Beach Resort Management LLC, both doing business as Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark and Resort in South Padre Island, Texas, for six safety violations regarding hazardous energy sources that fatally crushed a 20-year-old lifeguard and severely injured a maintenance supervisor.
OSHA’s Corpus Christi Area Office began its investigation in March after the lifeguard and maintenance supervisor entered a wave generation machine when it was inadvertently activated and causing the two workers to be pinned between the gate and the wall of the wave machine.
“By failing to properly train its workers and provide appropriate lock-out and tag-out procedures for hazardous energy sources, Schlitterbahn tragically exposed its workers to unnecessary risks. OSHA will not tolerate such neglect,” said Michael Rivera OSHA’s Corpus Christi area director. “It is the employer’s responsibility to find and fix workplace violations in an effort to safeguard the health and safety of its workers.”`
A willful violation was cited for failing to develop, document and utilize procedures to control potentially hazardous energy for equipment such as, but not limited to, the wave generation machine. This condition exposed workers to being crushed by equipment inadvertently energized and to electrical or struck-by hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The five serious violations cited involve failing to provide standard railings on the open sides of all exposed stairways and stair platforms; conduct inspections of the energy control procedures; train workers to recognize hazardous energy sources and procedures; guard water pumps with rotating shafts and firmly secure an electrical junction box to the wall. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The willful penalty totaled $70,000 while the serious penalties totaled $26,000. Schlitterbahn has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Corpus Christi area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Corpus Christi office at 361-888-3420.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.