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Shipbuilder Again Runs Afoul of OSHA

Friday, November 11, 2011

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Four months after settling one federal safety case involving 21 violations, a Texas shipbuilder has been hit with 25 new citations and a $150,700 fine.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Sneed Shipbuilding Inc. on Nov. 4 for 14 serious, seven repeat, and four other-than-serious violations related to multiple safety hazards at the company’s facility in Channelview, TX. Proposed penalties total $150,700.

 Sneed Shipbuilding

 Sneed Shipbuilding

Sneed Shipbuilding, of Channelview, TX, provides blasting, painting, construction, repair and other services. OSHA issued multiple citations against the company in June 2010 and again this month.

On July 13, Sneed resolved a 2010 OSHA case by agreeing to pay a $40,110 penalty for 18 serious, one repeat, and two other-than-serious citations. One serious citation was dropped and the penalty reduced from $59,300.

In 2007, the company resolved another OSHA case involving five other-than-serious violations and paid no fine.

Company owner Clyde Sneed declined Thursday to comment on the cases.

Sneed Shipbuilding provides a wide array of marine services, from new vessel construction to abrasive blasting, painting and repair. The company has about 150 employees.

Serious Citations

The new citations stem from an investigation that began June 7 at the company’s shipyard in the Houston area.

The serious citations allege:

• Lack of training for employees working in confined spaces and other areas with dangerous atmospheres;

• Employee use of oxygen and propylene tanks with damaged or unreadable regulators;

• Inappropriate use of lockout equipment for energy sources:

• Use of damaged slings that could not bear their rated load capacity;

• Use of severely damaged life jackets “covered in paint and solvents”;

• Lack of fire safety plans;

• Failure to repair a defective hook latch on a crane;

• Failure to repair damaged welding cables; and

• Failure to provide the required fall protection for employees working on scaffolds.

Serious violations reflect “substantial probability” of death or serious injury from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Repeat Violations

The repeat violations echo several of those resolved earlier this year.

“This company has once again put the safety of its workers at risk by not adhering to OSHA standards,” said David Doucet, director of OSHA’s Houston North Area Office. “Employers will be held accountable for repeatedly jeopardizing the safety of employees.”

The repeat violations allege that employees were welding around waste containers of paints and solvents without fire extinguishers. Other repeat violations allege failure to:

• Inspect cranes on a periodic basis;

• Properly maintain cords and cables;

• Repair damaged electrical outlets and welding cables; and

• Provide fire extinguishers.

A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation within five years. The case resolved in July stemmed from conditions found on an April 2010 inspection.

The new other-than-serious violations allege failure to test atmospheric conditions in confined spaces and lack of soap in the restrooms.

Sneed Shipbuilding has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them or comply.


Tagged categories: Abrasive blasting; Citations; Health and safety; Marine Coatings; OSHA; Regulations; Shipyards; Violations

Comment from Car F., (11/15/2011, 3:26 PM)

All the violations cited in the article involved risks to life, yet small fines seems to be the solution. The Law affords Corporations the same rights and obligations enjoyed by inviduals, yet corporations can threaten life, pollute our water, land and air; cause damage to our neighbourhoods and communities as the worst serial killer would, yet a small fine is all they get....isn't there something wrong here?

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