Fall hazards are a leading cause of shipyard fatalities. Forty percent of all fatal occupational incidents in shipyard employment from 1992 to 2014 were caused by falls to a lower level, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
OSHA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) as the agency considers updating its safety standards under Subpart E of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards in Shipyard Employment. The standards address falls in shipbuilding, ship repair, shipbreaking, and other shipyard-related employment.
Specifically, the RFI seeks comments and information on 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.
Comments and materials may be submitted electronically to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or via mail, facsimile or hand delivery. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. The submission deadline is Dec. 7, 2016.
OSHA has not updated its safety standards in 29 CFR Part 1915, Subpart E since adopting them in 1971. Current standards do not cover all access/egress hazards and do not address advances in technology such as new scaffold systems. Information obtained from the RFI will provide OSHA with insight on current practices used to protect workers from shipyard hazards, and will help the agency determine if revisions or updates to the standards are necessary.