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

Shipbreaking Hot Work (including Welding, Cutting and Heating)


Figure 1: Ship's hull being cut with torch from inside of vessel
Figure 1: Ship's hull being cut with torch from inside of vessel.

Up to 25 percent of fatalities in shipyards result from fires and explosions caused by hot work.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Hot work includes welding, cutting, burning, abrasive blasting, and other heat-producing operations. Hot work presents an increased risk of fire and explosion hazards because it is most often performed in confined and enclosed spaces. [29 CFR 1915.51, 29 CFR 1915.53, 29 CFR 1915.54, 29 CFR 1915.55, 29 CFR 1915.56, and 29 CFR 1915 Subpart P]

Accidents may occur during hot work due to the structure of vessels, where hot work in a space can cause fire or explosion in an adjacent space that has not been evaluated safe for hot work. Special precautions must be taken in adjacent spaces as well as confined and enclosed spaces. 

The Confined or Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres module should be reviewed before continuing with this section.

Steps for safe hot work include: Note: Confined space entry is one of the leading hazards associated with barge cleaning. Review Shipbreaking: Confined or Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres chapter for information on how to protect workers from this hazard.


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