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Shipyard Employment eTool: Shipbreaking
General Requirements Shipbuilding Ship Repair Shipbreaking Barge Cleaning

Cleaning and Other Cold Work » Cleaning Preparation


Remove Liquid Residues Before Cleaning Remove Liquid Residues Before Cleaning Illumination PPE Rescue Teams Remove Liquid Residues Before Cleaning Figure 1: Ship Cleaning PreparationFigure 1: Ship Cleaning Preparation

| Rescue Teams |

Before performing cold work, prepare spaces for entry and work by:

A Shipyard Competent Person (SCP) must conduct atmospheric testing and a visual inspection of the space. [See Confined or Enclosed Spaces]

Following the pre-entry inspection, shipyard personnel must:

Preparation for cleaning and cold work also includes coordinating the necessary personnel, equipment, and materials required for Cleaning and Cold Work Operations.



Remove Liquid Residues Before Cleaning
Figure 2: ADLER Tank used to suction residue from vessel tanks and other spaces
Figure 2: ADLER Tank used to suction residue from vessel tanks and other spaces.
Residues often remain in spaces when the vessel reaches the shipbreaking facility, even though the vessel's crew may have off-loaded the cargo and pumped out and washed the spaces.

Potential Hazards:

  • Residues may be toxic (for example, styrene, and urea), corrosive (for example, caustic soda, and pencil pitch), or flammable/combustible (for example, crude oil, and gasoline). These residues can cause illness, fire, or explosion.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

  • Liquid residues of hazardous materials must be removed from work spaces as thoroughly as possible before employees begin cleaning operations. [29 CFR 1915.13(b)(1)]
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Secure Piping and Pumping Systems
Figure 3: Marine Chemist verifying that piping into space to be cleaned is properly blanked off
Figure 3: Marine Chemist verifying that piping into space to be cleaned is properly blanked off.
Potential Hazards:

Piping and pumping systems that enter the space may contain residual liquids, flammable or combustible gases or vapor and toxic, corrosive, or irritant materials. These materials may be released or inadvertently pumped into the space, exposing workers to safety and health hazards.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

  • Piping and pumping systems entering the work space must be disconnected, blanked off, and secured by a positive method, if they are possibly carrying hazardous materials. [29 CFR 1915.15(a)]
  • Pumps within the system must be secured (for example, disabled). [29 CFR 1915.15(a)]
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Determine Ventilation Needs
Figure 4: Work area inside vessel not yet properly illuminated
Figure 4: Work area inside vessel not yet properly illuminated.

Figure 5: Shipyard Competent Person testing space to determine how much ventilation will beneeded for safety
Figure 5: Shipyard Competent Person testing space to determine how much ventilation will be 
needed for safety.

Figure 6: Ventilation equipment
Figure 6: Ventilation equipment.

Figure 7: Sign warning workers to carry flashlight
Figure 7: Sign warning workers to carry flashlight.
Potential Hazards:
  • Workers entering a space containing flammable, combustible, toxic, corrosive or irritant vapors, mists, or gases are at risk of fire and explosion, as well as health hazards.
  • Cleaning operations may also generate concentrations of flammable, combustible, toxic, corrosive or irritant vapors, mists, or gases through interaction of cleaning agents, or reactions of cleaning agents with residues.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

  • Testing must be conducted by a Shipyard Competent Person (SCP) to determine the concentration of flammable, combustible, toxic, corrosive, or irritant vapors within the space.[29 CFR 1915.13(b)(2)]
  • Continuous ventilation must be provided at volumes and flow rates sufficient to ensure that the concentrations of:
    • Flammable vapor is maintained below 10 percent of the lower explosive limit. [29 CFR 1915.13(b)(3)(i)]
    • Toxic, corrosive, or irritant vapors are maintained within the permissible exposure limits and below IDLH. [29 CFR 1915.13(b)(3)(ii)]
  • All air-moving equipment and its component parts, including duct work, capable of generating a static electric discharge of sufficient energy to create a source of ignition must be electrically bonded to the structure of a vessel or vessel section, or in the case of landside spaces, grounded to prevent an electric discharge in the space. [29 CFR 1915.13(b)(11)]
  • Fans must have non-sparking blades and portable air ducts shall be of non-sparking materials. [29 CFR 1915.13(b)(12)]
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Posting of Warning Signs
Figure 8: A clearly understood warning sign
Figure 8: A clearly understood warning sign.

Figure 9: A space containing insufficient oxygen to enter safely is properly labeled
Figure 9: A space containing insufficient oxygen to enter safely is properly labeled.

Figure 10: Posted results of Shipyard Competent Person testing of space
Figure 10: Posted results of Shipyard Competent Person testing of space.

Figure 11: SCP report and other warning signs at gangway entrance to vessel
Figure 11: SCP report and other warning signs at gangway entrance to vessel.
Potential Hazards:

Without adequate warnings, workers may enter unsafe spaces and be exposed to safety and health hazards. In addition, workers that are unable to read or understand signs are not protected.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

  • Posted signs or labels must be presented in a manner (languages or symbols) that can be perceived and understood by every worker. [29 CFR 1915.16(a)] See Figure 7.
  • If the space contains an oxygen-deficient or oxygen-enriched atmospheres, the space must be labeled "Not Safe for Workers" and workers must not enter until the oxygen content is between 19.5 percent and 22 percent. [29 CFR 1915.12(a)(2)] See Figure 8.
  • If the concentration of flammable vapors or gases in the space is equal to or greater than 10 percent of the lower explosive limit (LEL) the space must be labeled "Not Safe for Workers" and workers must not enter until the concentration of flammable vapors is maintained below 10 percent of the LEL. [29 CFR 1915.12(b)(2)]
  • If the space contains an air concentration of a material which exceeds a Part 1915 Subpart Z permissible exposure limit (PEL) or is IDLH, the space shall be labeled "Not Safe for Workers." [29 CFR 1915.12(c)(2)]
  • The shipyard competent person report and/or marine chemist certificate must be posted in the immediate vicinity of the effected operation while work is in progress. [29 CFR 1915.7(d)(2) and 29 CFR 1915.14(a)(2)]
  • Signs prohibiting sources of ignition within or near spaces that previously contained flammable or combustible liquids or gases must be posted at the entrance to those spaces, in adjacent spaces, and in the open area adjacent to those spaces. [29 CFR 1915.13(b)(10)]
  • A warning sign or label may be posted at the means of access if the entire work area has been tested. [29 CFR 1915.16(b)]
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Determine Illumination Needs
Figure 12: Explosion-proof light for hazardous locations
Figure 12: Explosion-proof light for hazardous locations.

Figure 13: Proper temporary lighting
Figure 13: Proper temporary lighting.
Potential Hazards:
  • Workers entering spaces containing flammable or combustible vapors and gases are at risk of fire and explosion if the space also contains improper electrical equipment.
  • Inadequate illumination in a space can lead to injuries from slips, trips, and falls.
  • Workers entering inadequately illuminated spaces may become disoriented and fail to find the exit. This prevents the worker from safely exiting the space.
  • Inadequate illumination can prevent workers from safely performing tasks.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

  • Only explosion-proof, self-contained portable lamps (for example, explosion-proof flashlight) or other electric equipment approved for hazardous locations by a National Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), shall be used until the space is deemed "Safe for Workers." [29 CFR 1915.13(b)(9)] See Figure 11.
  • All means of access and walkways leading to work areas as well as working areas themselves must be adequately illuminated. [29 CFR 1915.92(a)] See Figure 12.
  • Temporary lights must meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1915.92(b) and (c).
  • Where temporary lighting from sources outside the vessel is the only means of illumination, portable emergency lighting equipment must be available to provide illumination for employees to move about safely. [29 CFR 1915.92(d)]
  • Employees must not be permitted to enter dark spaces without a suitable portable light. [29 CFR 1915.92(e)]
  • The use of matches and open-flame lights is prohibited.[29 CFR 1915.92(e)]
  • In non-gas free spaces, portable lights must meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1915.13. [29 CFR 1915.92(e)]
  • All illumination equipment must meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1915.92.
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Select PPE for Cleaners
Figure 14: Containers of cleaning materials labeled with their hazards
Figure 14: Containers of cleaning materials labeled with their hazards.

Figure 15: Assessment of asbestos hazard
Figure 15: Assessment of asbestos hazard.

Figure 16: A good hazard assessment results in proper PPE for the job
Figure 16: A good hazard assessment results in proper PPE for the job.

Figure 17: Burner wearing ear muffs
Figure 17: Burner wearing ear muffs.

Potential Hazards:
  • The use of toxic, corrosive, irritant, or high pressure/temperature cleaning agents and their application equipment, may put the safety and health of workers at risk.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

  • A hazard assessment must be made to determine the appropriate PPE. [29 CFR 1915.152(b)]
  • Also see the PPE requirements for specific cleaning operation hazards that may be encountered:

Additional Resources:

See the Shipbreaking: PPE module for information on general PPE requirements and example specific cleaning operation PPE.

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