General Dynamics

Environment, Health & Safety

Our Commitment

At Bath Iron Works we are committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace while protecting the environment. This includes recognizing and actively preventing workplace hazards and pollution. In this competitive atmosphere BIW aggressively strives for continuous improvement, not only in the spectacular surface combatants our employees design and build for the United States Navy, but in the ways and means by which we protect ourselves and the environment we hold so dear. We accept these responsibilities to our employees, community, and our place along the shores of the Kennebec River with great pride.

We are committed to ensure that we provide our workforce and the environment with the best protections available by complying with State and Federal regulations. We have a dedicated staff to ensure all employees possess an understanding of regulatory requirements as they pertain to shipbuilding and environmental protection. Programs reflect the requirements under applicable regulations and are periodically reviewed to ensure we remain compliant with the law in word and in practice while improving performance in an effort to reduce injuries and prevent pollution.

At BIW we have three goals; provide the Navy with the best surface combatants at an affordable price, treat each other with respect and act with dignity, and send our employees home each day to their family and friends in the same condition they arrived at work. I would add, it is also our intent to be a good neighbor in our community and State by taking the actions necessary to protect Maine’s air, land, and water – all the natural resources we share to make a living or simply have a great time.

Laura Mathisen
Director of Environmental, Health & Safety

 

For more information, contact:

BIW Environmental, Health & Safety Dept: 207.442.1635
Or E-Mail us at: biwenvironmental@gdbiw.com

Read our Environmental Health & Safety Handbook

Safety Notice - BIW's Distracted Driving Policy - Changes effective 4/2/12 - All BIW and Non-BIW personnel

Safety Talk - Distracted Driving - Policy Review  


Environmental Protection

Bath Iron Works is committed to minimization and avoidance of emissions and waste. BIW has incorporated pollution prevention measures into its everyday business practices.

BIW has pledged to operate in a 'Compliance-Plus' manner while fully complying with federal, state and local environmental laws. BIW is committed to go beyond those laws when it makes good business sense.

BIW has always been a leader in pollution prevention. We started in the 1930s by establishing a metal recycling program, rare at the time. In the early 1990’s, BIW took great strides to reduce paper usage, and over the past decade BIW has implemented several recycling programs to achieve nearly an 80% recycling rate over the past year. Now we constantly apply cutting edge technology to solve problems. BIW makes every reasonable effort to prevent pollution, and we are currently utilizing product substitution, technology improvements, and best management practices to continually improve processes and reduce our environmental footprint.
 

Health & Safety at Bath Iron Works

At Bath Iron Works, we value the safety and health of all of our employees. For this reason, we have made it our goal that every employee leaves the shipyard each day in the same condition that they arrived.

In order to eliminate workplace hazards, BIW complies with all health and safety laws, regulations, and other commitments. We also take an active role in safety and health by educating and involving our employees, monitoring our performance, and always seeking opportunities to improve.

Ergonomics at Bath Iron Works

Ergonomics (the science of designing the workplace to fit the worker) is an important aspect of BIW’s EHS program. Addressing ergonomic risk factors in a shipyard is a complex and challenging task. BIW is proactively addressing ergonomic issues by integrating the ergonomics program into our EHS Management System and engaging the workforce through a Joint Union-Management Ergonomics Committees.

Some of the recent Ergonomic Committee initiatives include:

  1. Vibratory Tools – Shipbuilding requires a high use of vibratory tools. By implementing tools that vibrate less, perform better, and are repaired to manufacturer specifications, we are reducing the risk of injury and improving the workplace conditions.
  2. Training – Employee awareness and skill training focuses on the recognition and identification of ergonomics risks and solutions to mitigate the risks.
  3. Ergo Cup Competition - To improve our ergonomics culture and encourage employees to identify and solve ergonomic issues, we recently initiated an Ergo Cup Competition. The goal of this competition is to recognize and encourage the development of innovative ergonomic solutions at BIW.
  4. Communication – Frequent and regular communication is critical to engaging the workplace. Several forms of communication are used including: quarterly meetings with senior leadership and management, Ergonomic Talks issued to all employees of the shipyard, bulletins, and posters.

Our Efforts Are Noticed

Over the past decade, Bath Iron Works has received accolades for our efforts to make a difference. These awards include:

  • Governor's Environmental Award

We've won this award six times since the year 2000. BIW was awarded the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for achieving goals, most recently greenhouse gas, solid waste, and paper use reductions.

Our Five-Star Safety Program

BIW utilizes a Five-Star Safety Program within all manufacturing, warehousing, and engineering areas, to help ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and other commitments. The program is divided into five categories:

  • Fall Protection
  • Machine Guarding
  • Housekeeping
  • Fire, Safety, and Health
  • Electrical

Each category represents some of the most common hazards associated with our industry and manufacturing processes. Stars are awarded to areas based on positive safety and health performance, which allows for a friendly competition between different areas of the shipyard. The Five-Star Safety Program seeks to make safety easier to understand, and encourages involvement from employees across all levels of the organization.

Environmental, Health & Safety Goals

At BIW, we view compliance with Federal and State regulations related to Environmental, Health & Safety to be a minimum goal. We aim to go beyond just compliance wherever possible and where it makes good business sense. Each year EHS reviews the prior year's performance and sets goals for improvement for the following year.
 

In 2011, BIW has the following EHS goals:

  • Reduce workplace injuries by 20%
  • Reduce solid and hazardous waste generated by 2%
  • Reduce energy consumption by 3%; and
  • Increase the recycling rate for waste generated.
     

BIW will continue to work towards reducing workplace injuries and preventing pollution.

Close Cooperation With Regulatory Bodies

BIW's Environmental, Health & Safety policy states that we will comply with EHS regulations and continuously improve our processes to reduce injuries, illness, and prevent pollution. Part of our strategy for achieving these commitments is to work with regulatory agencies in a variety of ways to improve environmental, health & safety performance. BIW believes that working with regulatory agencies can remove communication barriers so that breakthrough performance can be achieved.

We Partner With The Community

BIW's workers live in local communities and personally care about what we do to protect the environment. We believe in sharing information related to protecting the environment and promoting worker safety and health. Our educational outreach includes presentations at professional conferences, university course instruction, and benchmarking with other shipyards.

BIW has worked with other businesses in the state to help resolve environmental, health and safety issues. EHS Engineers have spent time in local classrooms, talking to students about the environmental health and safety field, careers, and the issues we face.
 

Earth Day

Each year BIW celebrates the environment on Earth Day to highlight environmental awareness in our employees, families and community. BIW holds an Earth Day Poster contest where school-aged relatives of employees can submit Earth Day-themed posters. Prizes are awarded to the winners in three different age groups. Our 2013 contest just concluded. Take a look at the great entries for grades K-3, 4-7, and 8-12.

Ongoing Outreach: Environmental Bulletin

We publish an occasional e-mail bulletin for the community on environmental progress at BIW. It will help keep you informed of events and environmental activities of interest that are happening here or within the community. If you'd like to receive a copy when it appears, please follow this link.

Certification

BIW is ISO 14001-certified and OHSAS 18001-compliant for its comprehensive Environmental, Health & Safety Management System (EHSMS). BIW was the first private shipyard in the United States to have its Environmental, Health & Safety Management System be registered to ISO 14001 and be certified complaint with OHSAS 18001 / BS 8800.5

ISO 14001 is an internationally accredited standard for environmental protection systems administered by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The International Standards Organization sets voluntary standards and guidelines for manufacturing and engineering organizations to help promote quality products and protection of the local environment. ISO 14001 specifies a framework of control for an Environmental Management System against which an organization can be certified by a third party.

OHSAS 18001 and BS 8800 are international occupational health and safety management system specifications. Both are intended to establish auditable standards for implementing, maintaining, and continually improving a Health and Safety Management System.


Elements of BIW's EHSMS include an EHS policy, planning, operational controls, internal auditing, corrective action, continual improvement in EHS protection performance, and employee training and awareness. In order to maintain certification, the company is audited by a third party every six months to verify continued compliance with the standards, and audited every three years for re-certification. BIW successfully completed its second recertification in March 2010.
 

Visiting The Yard

We want everyone who visits BIW to feel as safe as our own employees. Please remember that a large part of our working environment is an industrial facility where many different types of manufacturing processes take place.

When you visit, make sure that you arrive in proper attire:

  • Shirts must have at least quarter-length sleeves
  • Shoes must be sturdy all leather-upper shoes with a hard or thick sole (open toed shoes, high heels or exposed feet are not allowed)
  • Full length pants are required (dresses are permitted when remaining in designated walkways)
  • When needed, proper personal protective equipment such as hard hats, safety glasses, and hearing protection will be provided.

Remember to follow all safety instructions. We’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have in order to make your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible