New Federal Efforts to Keep Shipyard Workers Safe

According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris will re-establish the charter of the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH).
This program was launched back in 1995 to help the secretary of labor oversee safety in the maritime industry. Within this plan was the blueprint for keeping workplaces safe and improving health standards while reducing the risks of injury and illness. The plan also requires employers to properly train workers and sets forth the enforcement initiatives to make sure that everyone is doing their job in this dangerous industry.

Our Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyers understand that shipyard work is traditionally very dangerous. There are hazards at almost every turn. And for this reason, the injury rate in this industry is about twice that of the construction industry and that of the general industry. Officials with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), have a strategic plan to help to reduce the risks of injuries and illnesses and fatalities for these workers.

Officials with the DOL think that by re-establishing the MACOSH, they will be able to help to protect the safety of those in the maritime industry. This industry was chosen by officials with the DOL because of that high injury, illness and fatality rate. Officials will be creating guidance materials, rulemaking updates and a number of other activities to help to shift the industry’s focus back onto safety.

When working in a shipyard, there are a number of dangers you’re up against:

-Working with scaffolds.

-Fire/electrical dangers.

-Heavy machinery.

-Pressure vessels, drums and containers.

-Work clutter.

Cluttered work areas can lead to accidents and cause worker injuries, due to slips, trips, and falls, being struck by falling objects, impeded access to exit routes and firefighting equipment, and fires because of improper disposal of flammable/combustible materials (such as rags, paper, cardboard). It’s critical to make sure that each work area is properly organized and clean. It’s thoughtless hazards like this that can cause some serious injury.

Other risks are associated with lifeboats. These accidents oftentimes result when a worker falls out of a lifeboat or the lifeboat is released from suspension with a worker inside. Confined and enclosed space operations have a greater likelihood of causing fatalities, severe injuries, and illnesses than any other type of shipyard work. Hazards include fires and explosions, falls, and hazardous atmospheres. It’s important that there is always a Shipyard Competent Person (SCP) on site to evaluate required spaces to make sure everyone is safe at all times.

A large portion of risks for these shipyard workers are associated when working in small, confined spaces.

It’s important to make sure that everyone on the boat and in the shipyard is properly trained, especially in first-aid attention. Injuries to workers may worsen due to inadequate or delayed access to medical treatment.

If you have been injured in a work accident, contact the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Amputations Underestimated in Carolina Workplaces, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, April 14, 2013

OSHA Issues New Regulations for Injuries Due to Combustible Dust Explosions, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, April 8, 2013

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