Shipyard faces fines of $101,600 over safety violations

Detyens Shipyards in North Charleston is the largest commercial shipyard on the East Coast.

Federal officials are proposing fines totaling $101,600 against North Charleston-based Detyens Shipyards Inc. for alleged workplace safety violations.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday that the financial penalty is based on 15 citations it issued for fall, electrical and amputation hazards. They were based on what OSHA called a “comprehensive inspection” of Detyens’ large ship-repair business on the former Navy base.

Almost all of the violations were fixed during the Dec. 2 safety review, according to documents.

A Detyens executive did not respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday.

According to OSHA, the cited hazards included: not ensuring wire-rope guardrails were pulled tight to prevent workers from falling overboard; allowing workers to use forklifts with broken safety equipment; blocked exit doors; not providing welding screens for arc welders; exposing workers to electrical hazards; and exposing workers to saws and other machinery that lacked safety guards.

The agency said it has inspected Detyens 12 times since 2005 and has cited it for more than 40 violations.

“I am concerned that this company is promoting a ‘pristine safety record,’ yet continues to violate OSHA standards that date back to 1973,” Darlene Fossum, OSHA’s area director in Columbia, said in a written statement. “Management must take immediate action to eliminate fall, electrical and other hazards identified during this inspection to protect its workers.”

Formed in 1962, Detyens operates the largest commercial shipyard on the East Coast and has more than 450 employees. The federal government is a big customer.

OSHA said the company has until June 22 to pay the penalty, request a meeting with OSHA or formally contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.