by Zachary Jay, Writer Staff
October 2, 2023 3:23 PM

KEY LARGO, FL – Upper Keys Marine Construction LLC Exposes Workers to Struck-By and Entrapment Hazards – In March of 2023, a 29-year-old employee of a marine construction company in Florida met an unfortunate demise, succumbing to drowning while pinned beneath a fallen crane in a five-foot deep body of water. The ensuing federal investigation conducted by workplace safety authorities has determined that the fatality could have been averted had the company adhered to mandated safety protocols.

The ill-fated incident transpired while personnel of Upper Keys Marine Construction LLC were engaged in the installation of a piling foundation for a residential boat lift. Tragedy unfolded when a crane, positioned precariously, tumbled into the water, thereby entrapping the worker who was inappropriately assigned to be aboard the crane’s load. This grievous occurrence ultimately led to the worker’s untimely demise by drowning.

In the aftermath of the incident, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified a series of infractions on the part of the company, constituting violations of federal safety standards. The contraventions include the following:

  1. Allowing workers to conduct pile-driving operations from a boat dock without the requisite approved buoyant vests.
  2. Failing to ensure the immediate availability of a lifesaving skiff during offshore operations.
  3. Permitting an uncertified crane operator to operate the equipment.
  4. Neglecting to comply with the crane manufacturer’s prescribed stability and load capacity parameters for the crane.
  5. Allowing workers to ride the load affixed to the boom of the crane during pile-driving operations.
  6. Operating a crane that lacked proper physical securing to the barge.

Commenting on this preventable tragedy, OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond, stationed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, asserted, “This tragedy was entirely avoidable, provided the company had fulfilled its responsibility by adhering to federal stipulations. Due to their dereliction of duty, a young life has been tragically lost, and the family and loved ones of the deceased must now grapple with their irreplaceable loss.”

In response to these safety infractions, OSHA has issued nine serious citations against Upper Keys Marine Construction LLC and has proposed a monetary penalty of $92,191, in accordance with federal regulations governing such violations.

Upper Keys Marine Construction LLC, situated in Key Largo, specializes in both commercial and residential marine construction projects, encompassing the installation of concrete, vinyl, and steel seawalls, as well as wood, concrete, and composite docks. Their scope of services also includes piling, boat ramps, floating docks, and boat lifts throughout South Florida.

The company is granted a 15-day window from the date of receipt of their citations and penalties to choose between compliance, seeking an informal conference with OSHA, or contesting the findings before the autonomous Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.