Ship Builder Faces OSHA Fines

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 @ 02:04 PM gHale

Bath Iron Works is facing $171,300 in fines for repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Bath, ME, shipyard, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials said.

The inspection, conducted under OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program and a local emphasis program focusing on hazards in ship- and boat-building and repair, identified a variety of fall, mechanical and electrical hazards at Bath Iron Works, which is a General Dynamics company. These included workers exposed to falls from a lack of fall protection as well as unguarded roof edges and floor holes and openings; tripping and fall hazards from walkways obstructed by materials, equipment, hoses and service cords; an unqualified employee operating an overhead crane; defective and uninspected lifting slings; uninspected lift trucks; unguarded electrical equipment; exposed and damaged electrical sheathing; and the improper storage of flammable chemicals.

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Falls from heights is one of the most prevalent and repeated incidents that occur in the work place.

As a result of its inspection, OSHA cited Bath Iron Works for repeat violations with $93,500 in fines and 15 serious violations with $77,800 in fines.

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. A repeat violation exists when an employer has had a previous citation for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. In this case, the repeat violations are similar to tripping and fall hazards cited in 2008.

“We’ve focused on this industry because establishments primarily engaged in ship- and boat-building and repair in the state of Maine have higher-than-average injury and illness rates,” said William Coffin, OSHA’s area director for Maine.

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