Region 1 News Release: BOS 2002-063
April 1, 2002
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PHONE: (617) 565-2074
OSHA Joins Bath Iron Works and Local Unions
to Improve Workers' Safety and Health
BATH, Maine - The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Bath Iron Works and local unions have joined in a cooperative effort to identify, address and eliminate injuries and illnesses at the shipbuilder's Maine facilities.
Under an agreement signed March 27, BIW voluntarily agrees to fully implement effective comprehensive safety and health programs at all its worksites. These programs will conform to criteria set forth in OSHA's Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines and in BIW's safety and health initiatives and manual. BIW will also study the injuries and illnesses experienced by its workforce and continue to gather, analyze and provide to OSHA relevant injury, illness and accident data.
"This agreement highlights the value of business, workers and government combining their respective skills for the common purpose of securing a safer, healthier work environment at one of Maine's largest private employers," said John L. Henshaw, the assistant labor secretary who heads OSHA. "Working together, voluntarily, cooperatively and continuously, they can make this goal a reality."
In acknowledgement of the company's commitment, OSHA will meet quarterly with BIW and its unions to assist in safety training, provide technical advice and be updated on how the safety and health programs are being implemented.
"At Bath Iron Works we share in the common belief that the safety and health of all employees is the number one priority," said BIW president Allan C. Cameron. "We have a strong commitment to improving and maintaining safe working conditions, employee awareness and training, and having people remain healthy and safe at all times."
"Active worker involvement is critical to the safety and health programs being implemented under this agreement," said Michael Keenan, president of Local 6, International Association of Machinists. "This mutual effort provides the opportunity for prompt identification and effective resolution of safety issues throughout our workplace."
Signing the agreement were C. William Freeman III, OSHA area director for Maine; Alan C. Cameron, BIW President and CEO; Michael Keenan, International Association of Machinists Local 6; Steve Sherburne, International Association of Machinists Local 7; Mary Cunningham, Bath Marine Draftsman Association; and Ronald Nelson, Independent Guards Association.
This agreement follows OSHA's recent comprehensive inspection of BIW's manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Brunswick, Maine. That inspection resulted in issuance of one repeat and thirty-four serious citations, with $114,000 in proposed penalties, for a variety of safety hazards involving cranes, forklifts, electrical equipment, machine guarding, equipment maintenance and fall protection.
"Eliminating all on the job hazards, injuries and illnesses at BIW is our common goal. Illnesses and injuries have decreased thirty percent over the past two-and-one-half years and the company has taken positive steps to address workplace hazards," said Freeman. "With this agreement, BIW recognizes the need to aggressively and effectively confront the many hazards present in a large, multi-faceted, physically challenging workplace."