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Region 1 USDL 04-153-BOS/BOS 2004-041
Friday, February 27, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074


Widespread Safety Hazards at Connecticut Shipyard Bring $172,775 in OSHA Fines to Four Employers

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Failure to protect workers against widespread safety hazards at a Bridgeport shipyard has resulted in numerous citations and significant fines for the shipbuilder, Derecktor Shipyards Conn., LLC, and three subcontractors from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

"Employers have a responsibility to safeguard their workers against hazards, and that did not happen in this case," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant fine of $172,775 sends a clear message that this Administration will not hesitate to take significant enforcement action when we find violations of safety standards."

OSHA began its inspections on Aug. 22 after receiving a complaint about two serious accidents at the 837 Seaview Ave. shipbuilding facility. At the time of the inspections, employees of Derecktor and the three subcontractors - Hiller Systems, Inc., of Mobile, Ala., Christian Construction, Inc., also of Mobile, and QCI Marine Off-Shore, LLC, of Houston, Texas - were constructing the Fairweather Alaskan Ferry.

The inspection found Derecktor employees exposed to numerous safety hazards. These included falling objects, (such as an unsecured life raft that fell 50 feet from the ferry's top deck level); blocked emergency exits; lack of machine guards; electrical hazards; confined space and fall hazards; deficiencies in the company's respiratory protection and hearing conservation programs; improper fuel gas storage; and deficiencies with cranes, slings, lighting and powered industrial trucks.

In addition, a Derecktor employee was working in an elevated aerial lift without fall protection, a hazard for which Derecktor had been cited in July 2002. As a result, Derecktor faces a total of $123,000 in fines for one alleged repeat and 46 alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The three subcontractors were cited for various hazards involving confined spaces, stairways, welding, ladders, fall protection, housekeeping and walking/working surfaces. Hiller Systems, Inc., which installed exhaust and sprinkler systems, was issued eight serious citations, with $23,850 in proposed fines. Christian Construction, Inc., which performed welding and fabrication work, was issued nine serious citations, for which $13,250 in fines are proposed. QCI Marine Off-Shore LLC, which installed electrical systems, faces $12,675 in fines for ten serious citations.

Each employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Bridgeport area office. The telephone number is (203) 579-5581.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. As a result of this commitment, OSHA had a record enforcement year in 2003 with 83,539 citations for violations issued, which is a 7.6 percent increase from 2002. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.


Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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