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OSHA slaps Manu'a Store with 5 violation citations

Accident resulted in the death of 3 men

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued five violations, four of which are considered “serious” - and fines totaling more than $35,000 - following the deaths of three men who were electrocuted earlier this year at the Manu'a Store compound at the Tafuna Industrial Park, according to OHSA public records reviewed by Samoa News.

Manua’s Inc.,  - as identified in the OSHA summary report for Manu'a Store - didn’t immediately respond to Samoa News email requests for comments regarding this story.

The accident investigation summary of the OSHA fatality summary report states that at approximately 11a.m on Jan. 14th three employees - identified only as Employees #1, #2, and #3 - 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 on the ground,” the report said. “All three employees were electrocuted.”

An investigation into the industrial accident was opened on Jan. 17th, and carried out by the Honolulu Area Office of OHSA, a bureau of the US Department of Labor.

According to the OSHA report, Manua’s Inc., was issued five violations on Jun. 19 and four of them are labeled “serious” with a proposed fine of $8,873 for each serious violation. The fifth violation is labeled “other” with no fine imposed.

Current penalty or fine for the serious violations total $35,492 and the violation was contested on July 10th by Manua’s Inc., it says.

Responding to questions from Samoa News, USDOL regional spokesman Jose Carnevali could only confirm that citations were issued Jun. 19 and violations were contested July 10th.

He did however explain that a “serious violation is where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from exposure to the hazard.”

“Payment is required once the citations become a final order. This will occur once the contest is adjudicated,” he said yesterday via email from the USDOL regional office in San Francisco.

There is no confirmation on a time frame on how long an employer is given to contest violations and therefore, it’s unclear when OSHA will issue a final order on this case.