The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company, for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its Bath, Maine, shipyard. The shipbuilder faces a total of $171,300 in proposed fines following a safety inspection by OSHA’s Augusta Area Office.
The inspection, which was 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.
As a result of its inspection, OSHA cited Bath Iron Works for three alleged 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 previously has been cited 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.
According to OSHA, the violations found in the inspection included:
- workers being 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.
“We’ve focused on this industry because establishments primarily engaged in ship and boa -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. “A proactive, sustained, effective and ongoing effort by employers to identify and eliminate hazards such as these is necessary for employees’ safety and well-being.”
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GeneralDynamics_315976324_0329_12.pdf.
Bath Iron Works has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
April 2, 2012