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Hospitalization prompts new OSHA investigation

Fraser Shipyard is pictured through the fog on Monday morning in Superior. Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com

Danielle Kaeding

Wisconsin Public Radio

The federal workers’ safety agency has opened another investigation into a northern Wisconsin shipyard.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesman Scott Allen said the agency opened the latest investigation into Fraser Shipyards in Superior after a worker was injured on the job last month.

"The company reported that an employee was burned to the point that he had to be hospitalized while they were working on a cargo hold in the Duluth harbor," Allen said.

He said the investigation may be completed within the next few months.

"But, it just depends on the complications of the interview. We have to interview the victim, of course, as well as any potential witnesses," Allen said. "Of course, we will talk with the Fraser Shipyards management, and try to determine whether they were following all OSHA standards and regulations to protect their workers."

A Fraser Shipyards spokesman issued a statement from the shipyard’s president that said the company is working with the federal agency and a local union.

"We’re now working together with OSHA and the Boilermakers to understand fully how this happened and to prevent any future incidents from happening," said James Farkas, president and chief operating officer of Fraser Industries, which oversees Fraser Shipyards. "Our thoughts and prayers are with our team member and his family."

Fraser agreed to pay OSHA a $700,000 fine earlier this year after a majority of workers were exposed to unsafe lead levels last year while working on the Great Lakes freighter Herbert C. Jackson. The shipyard agreed to make safety improvements as part of the settlement.

Wisconsin Public Radio, Copyright 2017, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard locally on 91.3 KUWS-FM and online at www.wpr.org.

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