Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair Brings Safety Excellence to the Shores of Lake Erie

Company: Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair, LLC

Location: Erie, Pennsylvania

NAICS Code: 336611 - Ship Building and Repairing

Number of employees: 100

Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair
Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair spans 44 acres and has more than 200,000 square feet of production area, including fully enclosed fabrication and assembly buildings and 4,000 feet of pier space.

Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair (DSR) is a shipbuilding and repair facility located in Erie, Pennsylvania. One of only two operational dry docks on the Great Lakes capable of dry docking 1,000-foot long vessels, it is used to build, repair, convert, dry dock, and repower ships. After acquiring the shipyard in 2010, DSR set out to build a strong safety culture among its employees. DSR appointed a full time safety manager and started a workplace safety committee in 2012. In 2013, the safety committee received certification under the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Workplace Safety Committee Certification program, earning the company a five percent workers’ compensation premium discount.

In 2014, DSR contacted Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) OSHA Consultation program.

IUP provided the company a full safety and health visit, including air and noise monitoring. Hazards identified included exposures to welding fumes, noise, electrical and machine guarding hazards, and hazard communication program deficiencies. After the initial IUP Consultation visit, DSR began working to eliminate or mitigate all hazards found. The monitoring data helped guide DSR in establishing proper engineering controls with the installation of local exhaust ventilation for multiple processes, such as welding and grinding carbon steel. Additional hazard mitigation efforts included conducting hazard specific training, using additional personal protective equipment, conducting pre-operational checks of equipment, and improving the preventative maintenance tracking process.

DSR continued to work with IUP Consultation program in 2017, 2018, and 2019. DSR also began working with their workers’ compensation insurance carrier to eliminate hazards and risk behaviors, developing tools such as worksite safety walkthroughs, leadership workshops for supervisors, and quarterly all hands meetings that lead off with safety messages.

In January of 2020, DSR received initial recognition into OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), and received their renewal in January of 2021. SHARP acknowledges small and medium-sized businesses that have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate exemplary workplace safety and health programs. Small businesses that achieve SHARP status receive a deferral from OSHA or the State Plan programmed inspections for the period that the SHARP designation is valid. Acceptance of a worksite into SHARP is an achievement that identifies the employer as a model for occupational safety and health among its business peers.

Between 2011 and 2019, DSR had measurable success in the reduction of total workplace injuries, reduction in lost time injuries, a 75% reduction in workers’ compensation premium costs, increased worker morale, and ultimately a safer and more productive work environment. DSR went from a high of 47 injuries with 291 days away from work in 2015 to 3 injuries and no days away from work in 2019. DSR also went over 900 days without a lost time injury, and maintains a total recordable injury rate well below the shipyard industry average.

Companies interested in SHARP can contact their local OSHA On-Site Consultation program to discuss details and schedule an on-site safety and health evaluation. To locate the On-Site Consultation program nearest you, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit