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Boat Maker Fined $95K in Repeat Case

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

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A Georgia boat maker faces $95,240 in federal fines and 19 health and safety violations for failure to abate a variety of violations found on earlier inspections.

The alleged violations include improper storage of liquids in the plant’s paint operations, excessive noise and dust accumulations, and fall hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the citations against Carolina Skiff LLC, of Waycross, GA, after a follow-up inspection to evaluate the abatement of violations found during a 2008 site-specific targeting program inspection. The program focuses on industries with high injury and illness rates.

Carolina Skiff

Carolina Skiff LLC

The alleged violations include improper storage
and transfer of flammable liquids used during
spray painting.

The company did not respond this week to a request for comment. Carolina Skiff manufactures the fiberglass boat brands Carolina Skiff, Sea Chaser and Fun Chaser at the Waycross facility.

Repeat Violations

The list includes six repeat citations, carrying a total fine of $45,740. The allegations include:

• Using compressed air and unapproved electrical equipment in areas where the dust concentrations are high enough to lead to a fire or deflagration hazard;

• Failing to clean up dust accumulations;

• Lack of exit signage;

• Failure to train welders regarding hexavalent chromium hazards; and

• Not implementing engineering controls to reduce high noise levels.

Serious Violations

Ten serious citations, carrying $48,510 in fines, include allegedly:

• Exposing employees to fall hazards;

• Improperly storing and transferring flammable liquids used during spray painting operations;

• Using compressed air greater than 30 pounds per square inch for cleaning;

• Improper installation of electrical service system;

• Failure to provide a hearing conservation program;

• Exposing workers to airborne styrene that exceeded the permissible exposure limit; and

• Not providing protective clothing and gloves for employees whose skin was exposed to styrene-containing resin.

Other Violations

The company also received three other-than-serious health citations with $990 in proposed penalties for allegedly failing to:

• Post the OSHA noise standard in the workplace;

• Ensure respirator face pieces had adequate seals; and

• Conduct additional air samples for hexavalent chromium when stainless steel production increased.

‘Employees at Risk’

"Carolina Skiff continues to leave its employees at risk of serious injury or illness by failing to implement the proper safety and health protections," said Robert Vazzi, OSHA's area director in Savannah.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation within the last five years. Serious violations reflect substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings.


Tagged categories: Fall protection; Health and safety; Hexavalent chromium; OSHA; Violations

Comment from Jerry LeCompte, (3/30/2011, 10:35 AM)

Small fiberglass boat manufacturing is a very messy operation at best. To remain in compliance with OSHA, EPA and all other local and state regulatory agencies is an exercise in futility. The letter of the law is way too burdensome on many small businesses and the spirit of the law is often ignored by an angered inspector. I believe that the actual impact of an alleged foul committed should be resolute before a fine is posted. While there are consequences to environmental and safety abuses one must also consider vile abuses on the part of governmental bureaucracies. For instance, just because something does not conform to OSHA regulations does not systematically make it unsafe or potentially hazardous.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (4/4/2011, 2:10 PM)

Jerry, failing to have earplugs and gloves falls under pretty basic safety equipment they really should have.

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