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

Surface Preparation Flammable and Combustible Liquids


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Fire and Explosion Hazards Respiratory Hazards Contact with Coatings and Solvents Electrical Hazards Electrical Hazards Fire and Explosion Hazards Respiratory HazardsFigure 1: Flammable and combustible liquids
Figure 1: Flammable and combustible liquids.
Flammable and combustible liquids, including paint, solvents, and preservative removers, are used in all aspects of shipbuilding. The use, storage, and containment of these
materials pose hazards to employees.

This section primarily focuses on the storage and containment of flammable and combustible liquids. For more detailed information regarding these materials, see the following:
The storage and containment of flammable and combustible liquids can expose workers to the following hazards: Note: Confined space entry is one of the leading hazards associated with barge cleaning. Review the Shipbuilding: Confined or Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres chapter for information on how to protect workers from this hazard.


Fire and Explosion Hazards
Figure 2: Drums and containers of flammable cleaning solvents
Figure 2: Drums and containers of flammable cleaning solvents.

Figure 3: Worker spray painting in enclosed space increases fire hazard
Figure 3: Worker spray painting in enclosed space increases fire hazard.

Figure 4: Warning sign clearly informs workers of fire and explosion hazards of smoking and hotwork in a spray area
Figure 4: Warning sign clearly informs workers of fire and explosion hazards of smoking and hot work in a spray area.

Figure 5: Shipyard Competent Person testing flammability and other hazards in spray area
Figure 5: Shipyard Competent Person testing flammability and other hazards in spray area.
Potential Hazards:

Fire and explosions may be caused by:

Requirements and Example Solutions:
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Respiratory Hazards
Figure 6: Workers protected from toxic cleaning solvents
Figure 6: Workers protected from toxic cleaning solvents.

Figure 7: Ventilation provided for painting in confined space
Figure 7: Ventilation provided for painting in confined space.


Figure 8: Airline respirator for use when ventilation does not provide adequate safety
Figure 8: Airline respirator for use when ventilation does not provide adequate safety.
Potential Hazards:

Toxic vapors and mists produced by flammable and combustible liquids may present significant health hazards when transferred, mixed, or stored. These materials produce vapors that are often heavier than air, and can become highly-concentrate in confined and enclosed spaces, causing displacement of oxygen and increasing health risks.

Requirements and Example Solutions:

  • A hazard assessment must be made to determine the proper selection of respirators. [29 CFR 1915.152(b)]
    • Many epoxy, anti-fouling, and coal tar pitch paints may cause respiratory damage, skin sensitization and possible life-threatening allergic reactions. Use of these materials required special precautions:
      • Air-line respirators
      • Gloves
  • Respirators must be used in accordance with 29 CFR 1915.154. [29 CFR 1910.134]

Additional Resources:
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Contact with Flammable and Combustible Liquids
Figure 9: Improper practice - Worker exposed to health hazards from skin absorption and eye contact
Figure 9: Improper practice - Worker exposed to health hazards from skin absorption and eye contact.

Figure 10: Worker protected from toxic paint fumes with proper PPE
Figure 10: Worker protected from toxic paint fumes with proper PPE.

Figure 11: Worker using washing facilities
Figure 11: Worker using washing facilities.
Potential Hazards:

Employees working with flammable and combustible liquids are at risk of harm if skin or eye contact occurs.
  • Organ damage through skin or eye absorption.
  • Skin or eye burns and irritation.
  • Ingestion of contaminated food.
Requirements and Example Solutions:
  • A hazard assessment must be made to determine the proper selection of PPE. [29 CFR 1915.152(b)]
  • The face, eyes, head, hands and all other exposed body parts of employees handling highly volatile paints shall be protected. [29 CFR 1915.35(b)(9)] Also see PPE Selection: Painting.
  • Spills or other releases of flammable, combustible, toxic, corrosive and irritant materials must be cleaned up as work progresses. [29 CFR 1915.13(b)(5)]
    • When clothing becomes saturated with flammable and combustible liquids, clothing should be changed immediately.
  • Washing facilities must be available in case employees are exposed to these materials. [29 CFR 1915.97(b)]
  • Workers must be trained in the hazards and precautions of the materials they work with in accordance with the Hazard Communication Standard. [29 CFR 1915.1200]

Additional Information:
Figure 12: Eye wash station
Figure 12: Eye wash station.
  • Fixed or portable eye wash stations/safety showers should meet ANSI Z358.1-1998: Emergency Eye Wash and Shower Equipment.
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Electrical Hazards
Figure 13: Portable electrical tools must be double insulated or properly grounded
Figure 13: Portable electrical tools must be double insulated or properly grounded.

Figure 14: Worker inspecting broken insulation on power cable
Figure 14: Worker inspecting broken insulation on power cable.
Potential Hazards:

Employees mixing or transferring flammable and combustible liquids with electrical equipment are exposed to increased risk of getting shocked or electrocuted due to:
  • Faulty electrical connection in power tools.
  • Open lighting parts.
  • Broken insulation on power cords.
Note: Arcing and spark producing tools are not to be used where flammable liquids are capable of creating a flammable atmosphere.  [29 CFR 1915.36]

Requirements and Example Solutions:
  • Portable electrical tools must be grounded or double insulated. [29 CFR 1915.132(a)]
  • Temporary lighting must be grounded. [29 CFR 1915.92(c)]
  • Power and lighting cables must be inspected by a person competent to evaluate electrical hazards. (Note: This is not the Shipyard Competent Person). [29 CFR 1915.36(a)(5)]

Figure 26: Visual inspection takes defective welding tong out of service
Figure 15: Visual inspection takes defective welding tong out of service.
  • All electrical tools or equipment should undergo a visual inspection prior to use.
  • All portable electric hand tools and temporary lighting systems should utilize Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI).
  • Electrical tools and equipment should correspond with the requirements of the job.
  • Electrical equipment and tools should be used with proper circuit protection for the voltage and amperage used.
  • Only qualified electricians should attempt repair of electrical tools and equipment in use.
  • A Ground Assurance Program should be in place for all electrical tools and equipment used including:
    • Records of tools inspected and repaired.
    • Records of electrical boxes inspected and repaired.
    • Records of electrical extension cords inspected and repaired.
    • Recall of records of the above.
  • The requirements of the Ground Assurance Program should be performed on a regular basis.
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