While welding the frame of a U.S. Navy vessel, a shipyard worker was just one foot away from three open manholes that exposed the employee to potential falls of up to 30 feet. These, and other alleged safety and health hazards, were cited against Colonna's Shipyard Inc., a ship repair facility in Norfolk, following a May 2014 inspection conducted by OSHA.
Initiated as part of the agency's Local Emphasis Program* on shipbuilding and repair, OSHA's investigation found 12 safety and health violations, including four repeat. The company faces $101,000 in proposed penalties.
High injury and accident rates
"Shipyard work is traditionally hazardous, with an injury and accident rate more than twice that of construction and general industry," said Dan DeWease, director of OSHA's Norfolk Area Office. "Colonna's Shipyard must do a better job of protecting workers from the dangers associated with this type of work. With the right safeguards, accidents are preventable."
In addition to the unguarded manholes, OSHA inspectors determined that fall protection was not provided for employees working on a barge, which exposed them to a potential fall of more than 18 feet. Inspectors also found that, because of defective equipment, employees were exposed to a number of electrical hazards while welding. Having been previously cited for similar hazards in 2010, the company received four repeat citations, carrying an $85,000 penalty.
Colonna's Shipyard was also cited for four serious violations, with a $16,000 penalty, for expecting workers to use damaged electrical equipment and unguarded machinery.
OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.
For more information on maritime safety, visit: http://go.usa.gov/sygG.
Colonna's Shipyard performs repairs on U.S. Navy vessels, tugboats, barges and ferryboats.