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Shipyards workers settle lead claims for $7.5 million

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) — Fraser Shipyards says it has settled lawsuits involving dozens of workers who were exposed to lead while working on an old freighter in Superior.

Fraser has agreed to pay $7.5 million to more than 60 workers who were exposed to lead paint. Fraser spokesman Rob Karwath said Thursday the workers were converting the freighter’s old boiler and steam power system to diesel when they were exposed to the lead in 2016.

The first of the lawsuits had been scheduled for trial in December.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Fraser for numerous 2016 work violations and fined it $1.4 million, a penalty that was later reduced to $700,000.

Fraser Shipyards was founded in Superior in 1890. It’s the last major independent shipyard on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes.

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