The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $441,500 in fines against Bath Iron Works (BIW) for 59 alleged repeat, willful and serious violations of safety and health standards at its Bath, Maine, shipyard. The shipbuilder was cited as the result of an inspection opened June 4, 2007, under an OSHA program that targets inspections to workplaces with higher than average injury and illness rates.

The citations encompass mechanical, electrical, chemical, fire, fall and exit access hazards, several of which had been cited on previous OSHA inspections. Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to the hazards of lacerations, impalement, amputation, fire, falls, electrocution and crushing injuries.

"This recurrence of hazards is disturbing and must be addressed," said Marthe Kent, OSHA regional administrator for New England. "Everyone at Bath Iron Works must focus seriously on safety and health and take effective, ongoing action to identify, address and eliminate workplace hazards."

OSHA issued BIW 12 repeat citations, with $250,500 in proposed fines, for impalement hazards from unguarded studs and angle irons being attached to bulkheads and decks of newly constructed ship modules; unguarded work platforms; defective powered industrial trucks; inadequately guarded grinders; ungrounded electrical equipment; non-waterproof electrical boxes used in wet environments; missing toeboards on scaffolds; and obstructed aisles and passageways. OSHA had cited BIW for similar hazards in September 2005.

Forty-six serious citations, with $136,000 in fines, were issued for a variety of fall, exit access, machine guarding, electrical, fire, crane and storage hazards. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA also issued BIW one willful citation, with a $55,000 fine, for 30 unguarded fan blades. A willful violation is one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

BIW has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.