Company fined $50,000 in firefighter’s diving death

Posted: 11/15/2011 in all marine news

Ian Scheuring –

A local company has been fined $50,000 following an investigation into the circumstances of a May 24, 2011 diving fatality that killed Jeffrey Barbieto, a 41-year old diver and Honolulu Fire Department firefighter.

Grove Farm Fish & Poi, also known as Hukilau Food, was found to have violated nineteen Hawai’i Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH) regulations, including those that state the company is required to provide certain pieces of dive equipment as well as adequate procedures and protocols that may have been able to prevent the fatality.

Barbieto died while cleaning underwater moi cages operated by the company.

“This tragedy was preventable,” said HIOSH Administrator Jennifer Shishido.

“The lessons learned from past diving accidents have resulted in comprehensive protocols and regulations that, if implemented properly, would have prevented this fatality.”

“It is important to remember each and every workplace accident victim as a person, a family member and one of our Hawaii ohana.

We want to work together with employers to help insure workplace safety-employers who are uncertain about their responsibilities should call for a free, confidential consultation with HIOSH’s Consultation and Training Branch,” said DLIR Director Dwight Takamine.

Citations are being issued to Grove Farm Fish & Poi, LLC for:

1. Failure to prohibit a dive team member from diving during the period that the diver was sufficiently impaired as to adversely affect his/her safety and health.

2. Failure to develop and maintain a safety practices manual, which shall be made available at the dive location to each dive team member.

3. Failure to inquire into the dive team member’s current state of physical fitness prior to each assignment and failure to indicate to each dive team member the procedure for reporting physical problems or adverse physiological effects during and after the dive.

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