Avondale Industries Agrees to Pay Fines

Avondale Industries Inc. has agreed to pay $357,750 in penalties for safety and health violations at its shipyard in Avondale, La.

, and implement a revised safety and health program as part of a settlement with OSHA.

"We are pleased that Avondale has agreed to resolve this matter," said Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. "Avondale's new management has shown they are serious about eliminating safety hazards. Key to this settlement is the company's willingness to revise their safety and health program to better protect their employees."

OSHA originally inspected the New Orleans shipyard in October 1998 following union complaints of possible imminent danger from falls, and other health issues.

Based on that inspection, OSHA issued 60 citations against the shipbuilder last April and proposed fines of $537,000. The majority of those citations dealt with fall protection violations.

OSHA also inspected Avondale's injury and illness recordkeeping practices following a union complaint of alleged violations associated with the reporting of employee injuries and illnesses.

Last July, the agency issued three citations against the shipyard for recordkeeping violations and proposed penalties totaling $180,000. Yesterday settlement consolidates both those actions.

"Avondale is choosing to take a positive step to improve safety and health conditions for its workers," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "We're encouraged that they've committed to provide enhanced training on the use of fall protection, scaffold erection and the prevention of fall hazards, one of the leading causes of on-the-job fatalities."

Some of the things Avondale Industries have agreed to do include:

  • creating and implementing a revised safety and health program,
  • provide enhanced training to all levels of supervision regarding fall hazards and the use of fall protection by Aug. 1, 2000,
  • complete an audit of accidents and injuries over the past five years, and
  • establish an audit committee to conduct quarterly audits on medical and OSHA logs.

Avondale Industries has 6,600 employees at the shipyard, which builds ships for commercial ventures and the U.S. Navy.

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