Unsafe Shipbuilder: Multiple OSHA Violations

According to a news release, Houston shipbuilder that specializes in manufacturing barges, Sterling Shipyard LP, has been slapped by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with 16 workplace safety violations for exposing their workers to numerous safety hazards. These violations, which included serious, repeat and failure-to-abate violations, were for exposing workers to struck-by hazards, hazards involving dangerous machinery, fall hazards for work at heights above six feet, and for high noise level hazards.

The company was cited for several repeat and failure-to-abate violations because OSHA originally cited them for 13 serious safety and health violations in October 2013. The latest violations came after a follow-up inspection by the agency in January of this year, when inspectors determined that Sterling had neither responded to the citations in a timely manner nor had they corrected several of the hazards for which they had been cited. The repeat violations were over their failure to equip working areas above six feet in height with guardrails and for their failure to replace worn and frayed electrical cords.

The company was also cited for 12 new violations, including nine labeled by OSHA as “serious.” Among those violations were for their failure to train those workers who operated forklifts; failure to conduct regular inspections of cranes; their failure to provide proper guarding for portable machinery; and their failure to provide adequate hearing protection.

Employers have an absolute duty to create and maintain a safe workplace for all employees. The purpose of an OSHA inspection is to make sure the employer is following that mandate, and the purpose of the citation is twofold; to make sure employers are following the rules, and also to make them aware of deficiencies when they are uncovered. Sterling Shipyard LP was cited in October, and they ignored the citations for violations that are critical to the safety of their workers, yet relatively easy to fix. As the agency put it in their statement, “By failing to abate violations cited from an earlier inspection, Sterling chose to ignore worker safety and expose employees to hazards that could lead to illness, injury or death.”

When an employer fails to keep their workplace as safe as possible and an accident happens, that company could be considered negligent. If wither you or a loved one was badly injured or killed while on the job, please contact the Texas Worksite Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm today as soon as possible so that we can conduct a thorough investigation and help you protect your rights.

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