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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation M-07-005
Details
Synopsis: About 1155 central daylight time on the day of the accident, the uninspected towing vessel Miss Megan was pushing two deck barges in Louisiana’s West Cote Blanche Bay oil field, en route to a pile-driving location. Construction barge Athena 106 was tied along the port side of deck barge IBR 234, and the Miss Megan was secured astern of IBR 234. While the vessels were under way, the aft spud (a 5-ton steel shaft used as a mooring device) on the Athena 106 released from its fully raised position. The spud dropped into the water and struck a submerged, buried high-pressure natural gas pipeline. The resulting gas release ignited and created a fireball that engulfed the towing vessel and both barges. The master of the towing vessel was killed, along with four barge workers. The Miss Megan deckhand and one barge worker survived. One barge worker is officially listed as missing.
Recommendation: TO THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION: Direct the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health to issue the following documents to the maritime industry: (1) a fact sheet regarding the accident, and (2) a guidance document regarding the need to secure the gear on barges, including spud pins, before the barges are moved, and detailing any changes to its memorandum of understanding with the Coast Guard.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Marine
Location: Franklin, LA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA07MM001
Accident Reports:
Fire Aboard Construction Barge Athena 106
Report #: MAR-07-01
Accident Date: 10/12/2006
Issue Date: 7/11/2007
Date Closed: 1/5/2011
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Date: 1/5/2011
Response: The NTSB understands that OSHA and the U.S. Coast Guard maintain a close working relationship and that, when issues warrant, OSHA participates on the Coast Guard’s Towing Safety Advisory Committee and National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee. Further, as a direct result of the NSTB’s recommendations and OSHA’s investigation of the October 2006 accident, OSHA published an illustrated fact sheet about the accident and ways that future accidents might be avoided (“Spud Barge Safety”); a guidance document addressing vessel hazards, safety requirements, and industry best practices (Deck Barge Safety [OSHA 3358-01N 2009]), and a directive (OSHA Authority Over Vessels and Facilities on or Adjacent to U.S. Navigable Waters and the Outer Continental Shelf [OCS][CPL 02-01-047]) providing current policy, information, and guidance clarifying OSHA authority over vessel and facility personnel. The NTSB further notes that CPL 02-01-047 was developed in full cooperation and coordination with the Coast Guard, that all documents were presented to the MACOSH and its construction counterpart, and that the documents have been widely disseminated to the maritime community. They are also accessible on OSHA’s website (www.osha.gov) as well as at OSHA’s regional offices. These actions fully satisfy Safety Recommendations M-07-4 and -5, which are classified CLOSED -- ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
To: NTSB
Date: 8/27/2010
Response: CC# 201000399: - From David Michaels, PhD, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health: In response to your letter of April 8, 2010 concerning the fire and explosion aboard the construction barge Athena 106 in West Cote Blanche Bay, Louisiana, I am pleased to report that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has completed three actions to address the hazards associated with this accident. We are hopeful that these safety initiatives by OSHA will prevent future re-occurrences which led to the tragic loss of multiple lives. As a direct result of the National Transportation Safety Board's (NSTB) Safety Recommendations (M-07-4 and -5) and OSHA's own accident investigation, the following safety documents were issued: I) In January, 2009 - An illustrated OSHA Fact Sheet on "Spud Barge Safety" was published, detailing the fatal incident involving the barge Athena 106 and the towing vessel Miss Megan on October 12, 2006, and the necessary preventive measures and safety precautions to be taken to avoid similar accidents. 2) Also in January, 2009 - A comprehensive Guidance document (OSHA 3358-01N 2009), entitled "Deck Barge Safety" was published. This informational document explains - in plain language, various hazards associated with operating this type of vessel. Among the hazards addressed were: slips, trips and falls; falling overboard; machinery and equipment; confined and enclosed spaces; and fire. In addition to the appropriate safety measures for each area, the document references current safety requirements and industry best practices. OSHA also lists how and where to find Agency assistance. 3) On February 22, 2010 - OSHA Directive number CPL 02-01-047, "OSHA Authority Over Vessels and Facilities on or Adjacent to U.S. Navigable Waters and the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)" was issued. This instruction provides current policy, information and guidance with respect to OSHA authority over persons working on vessels (inspected vessels, uninspected vessels, commercial uninspected fishing industry vessels) and facilities on or adjacent to U.S. navigable waters and the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). It combines CPL 02-01-020 (CPL 2-1.20), OSHA/U.S. Coast Guard Authority Over Vessels, dated November 8, 1996 and CPL 02-00-046 (CPL 2.46), Memorandum of Understanding Between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the US. Coast Guard, dated January 20, 1982 into one comprehensive directive. The scope of this directive was expanded to address all OSHA industries (General Industry, Construction Industry, and Maritime Industry). In addition, it updates the guidance to provide additional clarification regarding uninspected vessels and to reflect the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Chao v. Mallard Bay Drilling, Inc., 534 U.S. 235 (2002), which confirmed OSHA authority over uninspected vessels. Further, the directive provides policy guidance for the enforcement of the OSH Act with respect to wing vessels, that on August 9, 2004 were added by legislation to the 46 U.S.C. § 3301 list of vessels that require inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard. The compliance directive was developed in full cooperation and coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard. All documents were presented to the OSHA Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health and to its Construction counterpart. In addition, the documents have been given wide dissemination to the affected maritime community and all Agency compliance personnel. They are also accessible to the public on OSHA's website (www.osha.gov) and available at the Agency's various regional offices throughout the country. OSHA continues to maintain a close working relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard. When the agendas warrant, OSHA participates in the Towing Safety Advisory Committee and the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee, both organized through the U.S. Coast Guard. In addition, OSHA is a member of the U.S. ship recycling delegation to the International Maritime Organization, lead by the U.S. Coast Guard's Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards. Most recently, OSHA and the U.S. Coast Guard signed a memorandum of understanding concerning worker safety and health issues related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response in the Gulf of Mexico.

From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Date: 4/8/2010
Response: NMC# 103402 Based on the information provided in the October 11, 2007, letter from former Secretary Foulke, Safety Recommendations M-07-4 and -5 were classified OPEN ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE on February 29, 2008. To date, the NTSB has not received any further information from OSHA regarding these important safety issues. The NTSB is vitally interested in knowing whether and how its recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. That is why we monitor the implementation of all of our recommendations. We have enclosed copies of the NTSB’s July 11, 2007, and February 29, 2008, letters and OSHA’s October 11, 2007, letter for your convenience.

From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Date: 2/29/2008
Response: The Safety Board is pleased that OSHA will develop the recommended documents with the advice of MACOSH. Pending completion of these efforts, Safety Recommendation M-07-5 is classified OPEN ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. The Board would be pleased to participate in the development of these documents. Captain James H. Scheffer is my point of contact; he can be reached at (202) 314-6459. Thank you for your prompt response and for your commitment to marine safety. The Safety Board would appreciate receiving periodic updates on actions taken to implement Safety Recommendations M-07-4 and -5.

From: United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
To: NTSB
Date: 10/11/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/17/2007 10:11:13 AM MC# 2070584: - From Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., Assistant Secretary: OSHA has decided to develop and publish a fact sheet and guidance document, following appropriate consultation with MACOSH, as recommended by NTSB in recommendation M-07-5. We also will consult with the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health as necessary to ensure that these documents fully address all the relevant hazards. We are confident that, if employers follow our guidance and take appropriate protective measures, we can help prevent accidents like the tragic Athena barge accident from occurring in the future. We appreciate the NTSB’s interest in maritime safety and share NTSB’s commitment to occupational safety and health and accident prevention. Toward that end, we invite comments and participation of the NTSB during the development of these guidance products. Sincerely, Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., Assistant Secretary for OSHA.