Maritime News & Info

Norfolk Shipyard Worker Killed Had 12 Years of Experience with Excavator

Friends and former co-workers of the man killed last week at Norfolk’s Colonna’s Shipyard are speaking out. They recently told reporters that the man was an experienced user of the excavator, having worked with it for over a decade. He was killed when a concrete piling fell on top of the excavator while he was inside the cab. OSHA is still investigating the incident, but police report that there is no evidence of anything suspicious.

Colonna’s Shipyard does not have the best safety record. In fact, as recently as November 2014, the shipyard was fined by OSHA for 12 different safety and health violations. Though Colonna’s Shipyard has contested these penalties, the fact that OSHA was able to find so many violations is indicative of the emphasis the shipyard does – or perhaps, doesn’t – place on safety.

Shipyards are a dangerous place to work. It shouldn’t take an employee’s death to convince a workplace that safety is a priority. Shipyards are incredibly dangerous places, where slips, trips and falls can have scary consequences. The heavy machinery and cargo only adds to the level of danger. Even the most experienced shipyard worker can find themselves in dire straits if proper policies and procedures aren’t followed by all.

As the investigation into this death continues, answers will help other employees to better understand the risks associated with shipyard work. No one should fear for their lives while on the job. With OSHA’s overseeing the investigation and continuing to penalize Colonna’s Shipyard for safety violations, we can only hope it becomes a safer place to work.