Shipyard Industry Safety
By: The Working Man
Shipyards work on many types of vessels and do a wide
variety of work from building new ships to repairing or
demolishing old vessels. The variety of vessels and jobs
requires the services of many skilled workers.
In a shipyard there are multiple jobs being done at the same
time, and each has its own hazards. Once crew might be sand-
blasting, another crew installing instruments, another using
rigging to move heavy objects, and still another welding and
doing other hot-work, and all in near proximity to the
Of course, all these jobs and the multiple people on the
jobsite make a large potential for injuries. Therefore it is
extremely important for shipyard workers to know the proper
safe work habits for the job and the jobsite to which they
are assigned, to wear the proper personal protection
equipment, and to plan their work so that it is done in both
the most efficient and the safest way possible.
Some potential dangers, common causes of injury and
corresponding safe practices in shipyard work include:
Protecting Your Eyes
One of the most common injuries on any jobsite, and
certainly in the shipyard, is injury to an eye. Never fail
to wear your face shield, goggles or safety glasses on jobs
where they are indicated. Your eyes are irreplaceable.
Preventing Slips and Stumbles
Good work habits and housekeeping are an important way to
increase safety on the jobsite. Materials and tools that are
left on the deck make everyone more vulnerable to lost work
time due to sprained ankles and the like.
Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders
Repetitive Motion Syndrome and other musculoskeletal
disorders are very common in shipyard workers because many
tasks must be done in awkward body positions or in confined
spaces. But thoughtful care and efforts to make the work
areas and tools as ergonomic as possible can prevent or
lessen such injuries. Moving and stretching breaks, proper
tool usage, anti-vibration gloves, and awareness of the
potential problem and its symptoms are ways that you can
help to protect yourself from musculoskeletal disorders
Job - Lifting and Handling Materials
Much shipyard work is done in confined spaces where it may
be difficult to lift and move materials by the most
efficient and safe methods. Stop and think about how you
will lift and move the load before you lift it. Get help if
needed. Use a hoist or chain fall when the job allows.
Prevention is the best cure for back injuries.
Job - Working in Confined Spaces
Before you enter a confined space to work, look for a posted
SCP inspection form or Marine Chemist Certificate and follow
all instructions and heed all warnings posted there.
Job - Working with Fire and Heat
Shipyard work often requires that hot-work, flammable
finishes and painting be done in the same area or close
proximity, providing a serious fire danger. Make sure a
working fire extinguisher or water hose is always available
in any areas where hot-work is to be done. If the job has a
high fire danger, follow the suggestions of your fire
department for a fire watch.
Job - Working at Heights
Falls are the primary cause of injuries when working above
the deck. All work spaces over five feet above the deck
should have mid and guard rails. Check the perimeter
railings around hatchways and deck sides every day to make
sure they are secure.
If the job requires working where rails are not possible,
workers should wear full body harnesses with shock-absorbing
lanyards that are properly attached to both harness and
anchor points. Access ladders should extend at least three
feet above the landings for safety.
Job - Working Over Water
When working over water, wear approved personal flotation
equipment, and make sure you have put it on correctly so
that you can't slide out of it if you fall.
If you and your coworkers maintain an awareness and concern
for safety the work will go more smoothly and you will have
a much better likelihood of being healthy and able to enjoy
the fruits of your labor.
Back to Safety & Accessories for Working Men