Search form

OSHA Requests Information on Shipyard Safety Rules Covering Falls

By Tressi L. Cordaro
  • September 22, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is considering updating its safety standards covering falls in shipbuilding, ship repair, shipbreaking, and other shipyard-related employment and has issued a Request for Information. Comments and materials must be submitted by December 7, 2016.

The standards fall under Subpart E of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards in Shipyard Employment. In its September 8 RFI, OSHA said it is specifically seeking comment and information about the safe access and egress of vessels, buildings, and other structures in shipyard employment, including the use of stairways and ladders; use of fall and falling object protection; and erection, use, and dismantling of scaffolding systems.

The agency said fall hazards are “a significant cause” of shipyard fatalities and injuries, with falls to a lower level causing 40 percent of all fatal occupational incidents in shipyard employment from 1992 to 2014, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the OSHA Integrated Management Information System, 32 falls resulted in death or hospitalization between 2002 and 2014 in shipbuilding and repair. Of those falls, 24, or 80 percent, resulted in a fatality. OSHA said the falls were from various workplace surfaces, including scaffolds, ladders, stairways, platforms, drydocks, and ship decks. Moreover, nine injuries occurred as a result of falling objects during that same period, of which seven (or 78 percent) resulted in death.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational injury data from 2002 to 2013 revealed an average of 642 slip, trip, and fall injuries involving days away from work occurred annually in shipyard employment. These injuries are the third leading cause, or 22 percent, of all injuries that result in days away from work, OSHA said. Overexertion and contact with equipment are the leading causes.

There are an estimated three to four annual deaths in falls at shipyards.
 
OSHA is seeking input on proposals to revise portions of 29 CFR 1915 Subparts E, M and N (RIN:1218-AA68). It has not updated these safety standards since adopting them in 1971. It said that current standards do not cover all access/egress hazards and do not address advances in technology such as new scaffold systems.

In April 2014, OSHA issued a directive to employers on how fall protection rules apply in shipyard settings.

In this RFI, OSHA asked shipyard business employers such questions as: What percentage of injuries and fatalities do falls represent? What practices and procedures does your establishment use (or should employers implement) for inspecting fall protection? Who conducts inspections?

Jackson Lewis can answer questions about and assist with this and other OSHA developments.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

June 5, 2018

Maine’s New Recreational Marijuana Law Permits Employers to Enforce Policies Restricting Use

June 5, 2018

Maine’s new recreational marijuana law permits employers to enforce workplace policies restricting the use of marijuana and to take disciplinary action in accordance with those workplace policies. The new law, which took effect on May 2, 2018, replaced one that had been the subject of controversy, particularly with regard to certain... Read More

May 14, 2018

Georgia Bans Hand-Held Devices While Driving

May 14, 2018

Georgia has become one of 16 states in the country that bans the use of hand-held devices while driving. Governor Nathan Deal signed “Hands-Free Georgia Act” (House Bill 673) into law on May 2, 2018. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2018. The Act makes it illegal for drivers to “physically hold or support, with any part of his or... Read More

April 24, 2018

Iowa Amends Tough Drug Testing Law to Lower Standard for Positive Alcohol Tests

April 24, 2018

Beginning July 1, 2018, private employers in Iowa may take action based on an employee’s alcohol test result of .02 grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath. The lower standard was enacted under a 2018 amendment to the Iowa drug testing law (Iowa Code Section 730.5). Prior to the amendment, employers could not take action... Read More

Related Practices