OSHA fines Port of Portland terminal operator

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The company that operates the Port of Portland's container terminal has been fined $18,360 following a safety inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Documents show the federal agency levied the penalty last week after a routine inspection of the North Portland site in late February. The inspector found ICTSI Oregon to be in violation of more than a dozen worker safety codes, such as not informing employees about potential exposure to airborne lead and having workers operate machinery that lacked proper guards against flying objects.

OSHA did not identify any injuries that resulted from the alleged hazards.

ICTSI Oregon can contest the findings and proposed penalty. Company officials did not respond to phone or email messages.

Port spokesman Josh Thomas said he was told by a manager Tuesday that any safety issues identified by the inspector "have been and will continue to be addressed by our terminal operator."

ICTSI Oregon is a subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services Inc., a major global ports operator based in the Philippines.

ICTSI signed a 25-year lease in 2010 to operate the struggling Portland terminal, and the U.S. venture has been marked by a severely strained relationship with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union.

Company officials have accused longshoremen of engaging in an illegal slowdown for the past two years. The goal, they contend, is to hurt productivity, and ultimately drive away shippers and ICTSI.

The union, meanwhile, has repeatedly said the company skimps on safety at the site known as Terminal 6.

"We're grateful that OSHA is stepping in to hold ICTSI accountable for its failure to protect the men and women who work at Terminal 6," ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said from San Francisco. "ICTSI is accustomed to operating in low-wage countries where workers don't have the same rights we have in the United States."


Follow Steven DuBois at http://twitter.com/pdxdub

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