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Region 1 News Release:   BOS 2001-154
Oct. 26, 2001
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

OSHA CITES BATH IRON WORKS FOR SAFETY HAZARDS

BOSTON - Workers at Maine's Bath Iron Works have been exposed to a variety of crushing, impalement, electrical, laceration, amputation and other hazards, according to citations issued by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Following a six month investigation prompted by employee complaints, OSHA proposed $201,775 in fines against the shipbuilder for a total of 50 alleged violations.

"This case clearly illustrates the need for employers to carefully monitor their workplaces and identify potential safety or health hazards," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "Thorough safety audits are a vital and effective tool to ensure safe and healthful workplaces."

Fourteen of the citations, accounting for $165,00 in fines, were repeat violations. OSHA cited the shipyard for substantially similar violations in Sept.1999. They address such hazards as: impalement and puncture hazards from protruding insulation pins, studs and angle irons left uncovered after sandblasting; unguarded or inadequately guarded drill presses and bench grinders; cranes swinging loads over employees; blocked electrical panels and ungrounded electrical equipment; an unguarded deck opening; improper use of body belts as personal fall arrest systems; unmarked exit doors; thoroughfares obstructed by air hoses and ventilation lines; and inoperable air flow monitors in paint spray booths.

Eighteen citations were classified as serious, with $36,775 in fines. Hazards included an unstable section of a brick wall in the yard's machine shop; unsafe operation of forklift trucks; lack of an eyewash station for employees working with corrosive chemicals; unguarded or inadequately guarded saws; electric panel boxes with exposed live parts, and panels missing circuit breakers, knockouts, and outlet covers; cracked and damaged welding hoses and failure to use proper protective equipment during welding; tag lines not used to prevent crane loads from swinging; inadequate or unprotected lighting in the yard's sand blast building; inadequate wire ropes and chains used as a railing; and heavily corroded scaffold uprights.

The remaining 18 citations were other-than-serious and include deficiencies with ladders, exit and other signage, fire extinguishers, toeboards, lanyards, power cords, lead housekeeping and failure to evaluate respiratory hazards.

"The potential for tragedy is very real at this worksite," said OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw. "The employer is aware of the standards that will protect workers from the numerous hazards we found during our inspection; yet, numerous repeat violations reveal that the company continues to disregard the rules. Bath Iron Works must be held accountable and their philosophy on worker safety must change."

Bath Iron Works has 15 working days from receipt of its citations to elect to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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Fact Sheet-OSHA Citations and Proposed Penalties
Bath Iron Works-Bath, Maine

Fourteen alleged repeat violations, with $165,000 in proposed fines, for:
-- impalement hazards from unguarded insulation pins, angle irons and 4 inch studs in the yard's sandblasting area;
-- unmarked exit doors;
-- inoperable paint spray booth air flow monitors;
-- machine guarding: unguarded points of operation, rotating parts and vertical shafting, and missing or improperly adjusted grinder tongue guards and bench grinder work rests;
-- electrical: ungrounded electrical equipment and extension cords; blocked electrical panels, and unlabeled circuit breakers;
-- fall hazards: unguarded deck openings and the improper use of body belts as part of personal fall arrest system;
-- crane loads swung over workers;
-- poor housekeeping on ladders, staging and aisles, including obstructed thoroughfares.
[A repeat citation is issued when an employer has previously been cited by OSHA for a substantially similar violation and that citation and its fine have become final.]

Eighteen alleged serious violations, with $36,775 in fines proposed, for:
-- a double-bricked wall with several floor-to-ceiling cracks in danger of collapse;
-- forklifts: operators not using provided seatbelts, loads not safely handled, unattended trucks left with blades raised, and operators did not sound horns when vision was obstructed;
-- eyewash station not available for corrosive chemicals;
-- machine guarding: unguarded or inadequately guarded table saw, radial arm saw, jointer, spindles, drive shafts, pulleys and chain and sprocket;
-- electrical: panel boxes with exposed live parts, missing circuit breakers, missing knockouts, and missing outlet covers, electrical circuit not tested before use;
-- cracked and damaged welding hoses; proper protective equipment not used during welding;
-- tag lines not used to prevent crane load from swinging;
-- sand blast building lacked adequate lighting and temporary lights not protected against contact;
-- heavily corroded scaffold uprights placed in salt water;
-- wire ropes and chains used as a railing were not sufficiently taut.
[A serious violation is defined by OSHA as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.]

Eighteen alleged other than serious violations for:
-- missing ladder cage; non-exits not marked as such; exit arrows pointing in wrong direction; obscured control panel for an aerial lift; paint storage room lacked 'No Smoking" warning; unmarked electrical equipment, no strain relief on power cords; non-continuous flexible cord; no evaluation of nickel acetate operations for respiratory hazards; walkways not kept free of falling lead paint; fire extinguishers not readily available for welding; unsecured toe boards; disconnected top chain rail on a platform; defective ladder; blocked fire extinguisher; improperly adjusted grinder work guard; and use of a frayed and knotted lanyard.
[An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.]

Total Proposed Penalties: $201,775


The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029


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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