OSHA fines SeaHunter Boats after explosion burns two workers

Florida builder SeaHunter Boats was fined $9,100 by federal regulators after two workers were “severely burned” during an explosion.
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Florida builder SeaHunter Boats was fined $9,100 by federal regulators after two workers were “severely burned” during an explosion at a Florida marina in August.

The workers were trying to fix a fuel leak on a boat at Black Point Marina in Miami-Dade County when they turned on the light on a cellphone to see better, according to inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The light ignited leaking fuel vapor, burning the workers on their hands and faces, OSHA said.

OSHA cited Princeton-based SeaHunter Boats for three safety violations, two of them considered “serious,” including failing to test the work area for a flammable atmosphere and not providing workers with portable lamps, according to a report in the Miami Herald.

“Employers and employees need to be aware that a commonly used device such as a cellphone can be a huge danger around flammable products,” Condell Eastmond, director of OSHA’s Fort Lauderdale office, told the newspaper. “Employers must ensure they provide the correct tools for their workers to perform their job safely.”

Charlie Schiffer, vice president of SeaHunter, said the employees had recovered and were back to work.

“There was no scarring,” he told the Herald. “Everything is good, thank God.”

Schiffer said the company paid the fine without appealing. He said SeaHunter will ensure that its workers use lamps and a metering device to read fumes in the future.

“Things you can’t smell can still cause an explosion,” he said.

SeaHunter makes custom center console fishing boats. Its president, Ralph Montalvo, is a regular at Florida boating and fishing tournaments.

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