BIW faces $171K in OSHA fines

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Bath Iron Works for “alleged repeat and serious violations” of workplace safety rules, and the shipyard faces $171,300 in fines.

A yard spokesman said BIW immediately corrected the problems identified in the inspection. The yard was cited for a number of violations, ranging from not posting proper procedures to remove tires from vehicles in the maintenance garage to workers not wearing harnesses or safety belts when working on an aerial lift.

According to OSHA, the inspection was under a program that focuses on hazards in ship- and boat-building and repair, and identified “a variety of fall, mechanical and electrical hazards.”

The OSHA release went on:

 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.

 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

“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. “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.”

BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini said the yard has received the results of OSHA’s 17-day inspection, which took place last October and November.

“Immediate action was taken to correct items identified during the inspection and all items have since been abated.  We are in the process of reviewing the details the report and we intend to request an informal conference with OSHA officials to further discuss the inspection results,” said DeMartini.

He continued:

“The safety of our employees is a top priority at BIW and programs instituted over the last several years have enabled us to make good progress in reducing workplace injuries and ensuring compliance with applicable regulations.  We will continue to emphasize safety in all aspects of our business and work with OSHA to further enhance the effectiveness of these programs.”