North Charleston, South Carolina-based Detyens Shipyards Inc., was hit with a $37,591 penalty by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) due to violations identified during an investigation after a shackle fatally struck an employee during a lift operation. The accident, which occurred in January, was the third work-related fatality of a worker at Detyens Shipyard in a year.

David Clark, 34, was killed Jan. 20 while working on the top deck of a ship. He and other employees were attempting to bring a large object up with the help of a crane when a cable wire snapped, causing the object to strike Clark in the face. The impact caused Clark to fall about four floors. He suffered severe head trauma and died within minutes of the fall.

OSHA’s newly filed report cites the shipyard for failing to ensure employees used a fall protection system when working at heights, and for exposing employees to caught-between hazards by allowing them to enter between a guardrail and a rudder shaft while it was being lifted.

“This tragedy was preventable,” said OSHA Raleigh Area Director Kimberly Morton. “Employers must identify and eliminate hazards in the workplace, as required by law.”

Seven months before Clark’s death, Martin Anthony, 51, died at Detyens Shipyard after falling 30 to 40 feet from a ladder while painting on the ship. He was found unresponsive and bleeding from his head with “deep lacerations on his head and face.” He died from cardiac arrest. Anthony reportedly was wearing a harness with all the parts intact, but it appeared not to be attached to the safety ring on the fixed object, which would have prevented the fall.

On April 3, 2019, a worker welding one of the lifeboat arms at Detyens Shipyard when the cable holding the davit arm back snapped, causing the davit arm to slide and pin the victim against 3,640 pounds of equipment. The unnamed worker was pronounced dead at the scene.

Beasley Allen handles a variety of cases related to workplace safety. While all workers should be guaranteed a safe working environment, all too often we handle cases of serious injuries and deaths resulting from a hazardous work environment. Many times our investigation reveals defective or dangerous machinery was involved, or employers failed to provide adequate protections or ignored safety regulations.

If you need more information, contact Kendall Dunson or Evan Allen, lawyers in our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section who handle workplace litigation for our firm.

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