OSHA: Violations at Guam Shipyard 'grave concern'

The following is the text of a press release from the U.S. Department of Labor: 

(SANTA RITA, Guam) — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Guam Industrial Services Inc. in Santa Rita, doing business as Guam Shipyard, for a total of 61 alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards. The company faces a total of $293,450 in proposed fines following an inspection conducted by OSHA's Honolulu Area Office between January and February under the agency's Local Emphasis Program for Shipyards. The alleged violations include 46 serious, seven repeat and eight other-than-serious violations.

"Both the number and seriousness of safety and health violations we identified during our inspection are cause for grave concern," said Galen Lemke, director of OSHA's Honolulu Area Office. "We hope the results of our inspection will serve as a wake-up call, not only for this employer but for others, about the importance of ensuring workplace safety and health for workers in Guam's maritime industry."

The 46 serious safety and health violations include electrical hazards, such as failure to guard lights from damage, ground equipment, provide covers on electrical box openings, and ensure wiring was protected from abrasion and strain. The employer was also cited for the lack of guardrail protections; failure to establish and implement a lockout/tagout program; lack of a respiratory protection program; failure to maintain good housekeeping practices; and failure to check, inspect and maintain portable fire extinguishers. Workers were also exposed to metal fumes and were not properly wearing respiratory protection. Inspectors found that the employer did not conduct air monitoring to determine workers' exposure level to cadmium. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The seven repeat violations, totaling $145,000, include inadequate guardrails and fall prevention, failure to remove defective gear used with cranes, lack of eye protection and electrical wiring hazards.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Honolulu office at 808-541-2680. Small businesses may also request assistance at no charge from the Guam Department of Labor On-Site Consultation Program at 671-300-4620 or by email at anthony.anderson@dol.guam.gov.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

By Professional Mariner Staff