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Shipyard Employment Fire Protection

Vessel on fire being extinguished by fireboats.
Figure 1. Vessel on fire being extinguished by fireboats.

The following information has been developed to help employers and employees develop an effective fire protection program. This involves protecting shipyard employment workers from fire hazards while conducting ship repair, shipbuilding, shipbreaking, and related work activities as well as firefighting activities. Many of the basic tasks involved in shipyard employment, such as welding, grinding, and cutting metal with torches, provide an ignition source for fires.

There are also many combustible materials on vessels and in shipyards, including flammable fuels, cargo, wood structures, building materials, and litter. When torches are used in confined or enclosed spaces, accidents resulting in oxygen-enriched atmospheres can cause normally fire-resistant materials to readily burn. When fires do occur, employees are often working in confined or enclosed spaces making escape difficult or impossible. Fires in such confined or enclosed spaces can also result in atmospheres of combustible gases, toxic fumes, or oxygen-deficient air or super-heated air.


When the worksite has multiple employers, the host employer (typically the shipyard or the owner of the vessel) and the contract employer must assure: [1915.501(d)]

  • that their fire safety plans are compatible (include hazards, controls, fire safety and health rules, and emergency procedures), and
  • that all employees are familiar with the plan.
  • that the plan is accessible to all employees.

This chapter includes:

Additional Resources:

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