High Court Backs Barge, Tugboat Rules

Monday, January 14, 2002
According to a recent wire report, the Supreme Court said that federal regulators can impose strict worker safety standards on barges and tugboats. The Associated Press has reported that Justices rejected arguments that the industry was being double-regulated by the Coast Guard and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was also maintained in the ruling that marine workplaces are not different than traditional businesses. OSHA has maintained that it should not be barred from regulating the industry, as about 100 people are killed on barges and other vessels annually, with another 600 injured. This case arose from an explosion in 1997 that killed four workers on a barge in a Louisiana swamp. Mallard Bay Drilling Inc. contested OSHA's authority to impose fines. The company argued that Congress intended for the Coast Guard to handle marine safety, not another agency.

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