A popular water park on Texas’ South Padre island has been fined nearly $100,000 after a 20-year-old lifeguard died and a maintenance supervisor was severely injured at the facility.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Enterprize Management Inc. and Schlitterbahn Beach Resort Management LLC, both doing business as Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark and Resort in South Padre Island, Texas, for six safety violations related to hazardous energy sources.
OSHA’s Corpus Christi Area Office began its investigation in March after the lifeguard and maintenance supervisor entered a wave generation machine when it was inadvertently activated and causing the two workers to be pinned between the gate and the wall of the wave machine.
A willful violation was cited for failing to develop, document and utilize procedures to control potentially hazardous energy for equipment such as, but not limited to, the wave generation machine. This condition exposed workers to being crushed by equipment inadvertently energized and to electrical or struck-by hazards.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The five serious violations cited involve failing to provide standard railings on the open sides of all exposed stairways and stair platforms; conduct inspections of the energy control procedures; train workers to recognize hazardous energy sources and procedures; guard water pumps with rotating shafts and firmly secure an electrical junction box to the wall.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The willful penalty totaled $70,000 while the serious penalties totaled $26,000.
Schlitterbahn has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Corpus Christi area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.