While welding the frame of a U.S. Navy vessel, a shipyard worker was just 1 foot away from three open manholes that exposed the employee to potential falls of up to 30 feet. That was one of the alleged safety and health hazards that OSHA found during a May inspection of a ship-repair facility in Norfolk, Va.
OSHA, which initiated the inspection as part of the agency’s Local Emphasis Program on shipbuilding and repair, has cited Colonna’s Shipyard Inc. for 12 alleged violations, including four repeat violations. The company faces $101,000 in proposed penalties.
“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 the employer did not provide fall protection 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, OSHA noted.
The agency also cited Colonna’s Shipyard for four serious violations, with a $16,000 penalty, for expecting workers to use damaged electrical equipment and unguarded machinery.
OSHA cited the company for four additional violations for other guarding, electrical and fire extinguisher hazards.
Colonna’s Shipyard, which performs repairs on U.S. Navy vessels, tugboats, barges and ferryboats, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply or contest OSHA’s findings.