Workers in the shipbuilding, ship breaking or shipyard industries face a multitude of occupational hazards, including exposure to dangerous toxins like asbestos, dangerous fumes, electrocutions and electrical shocks, fall accidents, and fires. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has a new document out that lays down guidelines to minimize the effect of such hazards.

The document called Safe Work Practices in Ship Breaking outlines measures that employers can take to prevent the risk of injuries to shipyard workers. The booklet encourages employers to take up safe practices during several ship breaking processes.

  • These include safe processes while towing, moving and hauling the vessel.
  • It calls for providing safe equipment for workers while performing major activities like cutting metals, as well as fall protection equipment.
  • The booklet also includes the need for fire drills, and the presence of fire hoses, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinklers and other firefighting systems on hand.
  • Employers must provide a fully equipped first-aid room with qualified medical personnel on hand to deliver first aid to injured workers.
  • There must be provisions for stretchers and other emergency aids to transfer injured workers.
  • It calls for the institution of a medical surveillance program for workers who are at a high risk of exposure to asbestos, lead and cadmium.
  • The booklet also calls for matching workers and their physical conditions with the tasks they might perform. For instance, workers with a history of back injury must not be placed on tasks that require heavy lifting.
  • There are special safety processes to be followed for crane operators and train services, as well as specifications for the mechanical functioning of trucks and fork trucks.
  • Workers must also be trained to be aware of the special risks of the task they’re performing. For example, workers engaged in handling burn materials must be trained in preventing burn injuries.

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent injured shipyard workers, longshoremen, dockworkers, crane operators, stevedores and other workers who may be included under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act, recover compensation for their injuries after a maritime accident.