Federal workplace safety inspectors examining how a 26-year-old diver drowned in a golf course pond – after only three days working for a commercial diving and recovery company – found the employer failed to follow required safety standards, including ensuring adequate supervision was in place and that required training was provided.

The incident occurred as the dive technician and a coworker employed by Ballhawker of Florida Inc. recovered sunken golf balls in a pond on a golf course. When the diver became unresponsive, the coworker pulled him from the water and asked a passing golfer to call 911. The diver was transported to a local hospital where he later died.

Following an investigation, the OSHA issued citations to Ballhawker for 12 serious violations. Among the violations were failure to:

  • Train divers to handle assigned tasks safely, including using equipment.
  • Ensure all dive team members are CPR trained.
  • Provide continuous monitoring and oversee diving operations.
  • Inspect diving equipment and components prior to every dive.
  • Test air compressor systems for air purity every six months.
  • Set up an operational communication system among all dive team members.
  • Develop and maintain a safe practice manual for divers.

OSHA proposed $55,870 in penalties.

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About the Author

Jon Knight

Jon Knight leads the NASP Team’s media creation department. He has been involved with workplace safety training since 2017 with a focus on course creation. He also provides video production and voiceovers for NASP content.
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