Ship Builder Cited for Boatload of Safety, Health Hazards

OSHA has cited Sneed Shipbuilding Inc. for alleged serious, repeat, and other-than-serious violations for exposing employees to electrical and other safety hazards at the company's 35-acre facility in Channelview, Texas. Proposed penalties total $59,300.

"Welders were using damaged welding leads, and the company failed to repair damaged electrical junction boxes," said David Doucet, director of OSHA's Houston North Area Office. "Electrical hazards like these can cause electrocution."

The company's Channelview facility, which includes a complete electrical division and a full machine shop, makes and repairs pushboats, drydocks, and barges.

OSHA's Houston North Area Office began its investigation on April 27, finding structural deficiencies on one of the crawler cranes the company maintained and operated, as well as electrical hazards throughout the shipyard. The agency issued 19 serious citations, including failing to provide employees with fall protection, guards on grinders, covers over open manholes in decks, and fire extinguishers in areas where flammable paint and solvents are used. A serious violation is one that could cause death or serious physical harm to employees when the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

The agency issued a repeat violation for the company's failing to provide employees operating crawler cranes with load rating charts. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last three years.

Two other-than-serious citations were issued for failing to properly complete the required Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses form and for not maintaining a written respiratory protection program for employees exposed to inhalation hazards. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston North area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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