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OSHA: Manu’a’s Store electrocution incident — case still open

This Jan. 2017 file photo shows the area where the deadly accident took place on Saturday morning around noontime, Jan. 14, 2017. Yellow police tape encloses the area, with a fire truck and firefighters stationed on site as a precautionary measure.  [SN file photo]
Local Jersey Corp. also contesting proposed OSHA fines of more than $17K

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The local company alleged to have been contracted for crane service for a project at Manu’a’s Store at the Tafuna Industrial Park, where three men were electrocuted and died early last year, has contested the proposed fines of more than $17,000 imposed by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Last September, Samoa News reported that Manu'a’s Inc., dba Manu'a Store, was contesting five violations — four of them “serious” — and proposed fines of more than $35,000. The case is still open. (See Samoa News Sept. 14, 2017 edition for details.)

Samoa News has found that according to OHSA’s public records, Jersey Corporation — with location of the incident: Tafuna Industrial Park, Tafuna Manu’a’s Store — has three proposed violations, and two are labeled “serious” — with a proposed fine of $8,873 for each of the serious violations.

The three violations, in which one is considered “other” with no fine, were issued June 19, 2017.

According to OSHA, a bureau within the US Department of Labor, the company contested the proposed violations and fines on July 13, 2017, and the case remains open.

“This matter is ongoing and because of it, we cannot provide any further details or information at this moment,” said Jose Carnevali, USDOL spokesman for the department’s Region 9 Office, in response to Samoa News inquiries.

Samoa News questions included: What service Jersey Corporation provided to the Manu’a’s Store warehouse construction project; if it was crane service; and, if the company does business as Asia Pacific Engineering & Construction Service (APECS).

A 2014 Commerce Department document, submitted to the US Interior Department as part of a local request at the time, shows a Jersey Corporation dba Asia Pacific Engineering & Construction Service, according to Samoa News research.

DOC confirmed yesterday that based on its business database, Jersey Corporation renewed their business licenses for 2017 & 2018 and doing business as APECS, whose activities are General Construction & General Engineering.

For 2018, one business license is for general construction and the other general engineering.

Samoa News reported on Jan. 24, 2017 that APECS had been contracted by Manu’a’s Store for their crane services to build a warehouse. Unconfirmed reports at the time said the crane operator was injured during the electrocution incident.

A phone call, yesterday, to Jersey Corp. was answered, and the person identified the business as “APECS”. The company didn’t immediately respond yesterday to a request for comment on the proposed violations and fines.

The OSHA accident investigation summary report on Jersey Corporation only states that the incident occurred Jan. 14, 2017 around 11a.m when three employees were unloading and staging structural metal beams with a boom truck crane.

The truck mounted crane was unloading steel beams from an open top container when the boom truck cable touched a high power line causing electrical current to flow down the steel beam into the arms and bodies of the three employees who were electrocuted.

This is similar to the accident summary report OSHA made for Manu’a’s Store in Sept. 2017.