Job Safety

January 10, 2006

Staten Island Incident

We all recall the Staten Island ferry accident three years ago. In this incident a comuter ferry, after crossing New York Harbor, inexplicably ran into the dock, killing 11 people. The cause of this accident was difficult to figure, although it did seem to be a sudden lapse on the part of the pilot rather than any kind of equipment failure. Rumors circulated about the pilot’s health.

Well, now the details are out. Captain Richard Smith was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison and has apologized to the families of the victims. Capt. Smith, suffering from extreme fatigue and from the effects of pain killers, simply blacked out while docking the ferry. The ship hit the concrete maintenance pier at full speed. There were 1,500 passengers on board at the time of the collision.

Two points: 1. It could have been much worse. 2. It could have been prevented.