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Safety program revamped at Bath Iron Works.

Safety program revamped at Bath Iron Works

Labor relations at Bath Iron Works took a turn for the better when the shipbuilding firm and three unions cooperated in a revamping of the safety program that boded well for mid-1988 bargaining on wages and benefits, in contrast with 1985, when a 3-month work stoppage occurred.

In signing the new safety agreement, union and management representatives expressed hope that the revamping would convince the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration of their commitment to safety and lead to a reduction of the record $4.2 million fine OSHA had proposed for Bath in October 1987 after finding more than 3,000 alleged violations constituting a "serious threat" to employees.

Regardless of the outcome of the continuing legal action against the company, both management and the unions said the safety agreement would stand. The 37-point agreement, which was expected to cost Bath $6 million over its 3-year term, called for.

Hiring a qualified director of safety.

Hiring 16 safety inspectors and laboratory employees. Establishing a joint safety awards program and reviewing possible alternatives.

Substantially modifying work sites and equipment to reduce dangers.

Sending firefighters to OSHA training programs.

Training safety department employees in assuring compliance with OSHA regulations.

Developing plans for in-house safety inspections at least every 3 months at the three facilities, which are located in Maine.

Inviting OSHA to conduct a complete inspection in 1990.

The unions involved in the settlement were the Marine and Shipbuilding Workers, in Marine Draftsmen's Association, and the Independent Guards Association.
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Apr 1, 1988
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