BIW Confident Many Safety Charges Will Be Dropped
BATH, Maine (AP) _ Bath Iron Works officials said Tuesday they are contesting a proposed $4.2 million fine for more than 3,000 federal health and safety citations, though they confirmed that some violations occurred.
The shipbuilder will contest the fine, which has been recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, before a federal administrative judge, BIW Chairman William E. Haggett said.
Haggett said BIW met with OSHA officials in Augusta on Monday to seek a reduction in the number of violations, downgrade the degree of some and reduce the fines for others. Representatives of Local 6 of the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America, BIW’s largest union, also attended the session.
OSHA Area Director William O. Masters said that BIW did not present specific proposals, making it impossible for him to make any changes.
The fine is the most severe penalty ever proposed by OSHA.
BIW spokesman Jim McGregor said 80 percent of the violations cited by OSHA have been corrected or resolved.
Haggett claims that BIW, Maine’s largest private employer, was singled out by OSHA to set an example for industry. He said each citation will be contested on grounds that the fine is excessive, facts are misrepresented or that the violation is classified in too serious a category.
Fines totaling $3.8 million were proposed for safety violations classified as willful, the most serious categories, while fines totalling $344,000 were proposed for health violations in the same category.
Some citations were duplicated and others are barred by the statute of limitations, Haggett contended.
Masters said the citations were based on ″extensive reviews, signed statements and historical data,″ adding that BIW has ″a history with us that goes back quite a ways.″