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Shipbuilding and Ship Repair

Shipbuilding and ship repair includes the manufacture, repair, and maintenance of ships. Several types of hazards are common in this industry, including chemical (asbestos, welding fumes, solvents, paints, fuels), physical (noise, heat stress), and safety (fires, confined spaces, falls, heavy equipment).

OSHA Standards

Shipbuilding and ship repair hazards are addressed in specific standards for shipyard employment and the construction industry. This page highlights OSHA standards, preambles to final rules (background to final rules), and directives (instructions for compliance officers) related to shipbuilding and ship repair.

Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915)

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

  • 1926.30, Shipbuilding and ship repairing. Refer to Part 1915 for applicable standards.

Preambles to Final Rules


Fire Protection

  • 29 CFR 1915, Shipyard employment. OSHA Standard. Provides increased protection for shipyard employment workers from the hazards of fire on vessels and vessel sections and at land-side facilities. Reflects new technologies and current national consensus standards. Gathers all fire-related safety practices for shipyard employment into a single subpart, which will make them more accessible and understandable for employers and employees.
  • Fire Protection in Shipyard Employment; Final Rule. OSHA Federal Register Final Rules 69:55667-55708, (2004, September 15).

Hazards and Solutions

General Hazards

  • Respiratory Irritation and Systemic Poisoning

  • Confined Spaces

  • Paint Fumes

  • Eye Protection against Radiant Energy during Welding and Cutting in Shipyard Employment [180 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2012, January). Discusses protection from radiant energy and the requirements for workers to use personal protective equipment.

  • Safety Alert: Deadly Hydrogen Sulfide and Shipyard Sewage [63 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA and the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Shipbuilding Association, the National Shipbuilding Research Program, and the Shipbuilders Council of America Alliance. Makes both shipyard employers and employees aware of the hazards of sewage systems on both ships and shipyard shore facilities and how to prevent accidents involving hydrogen sulfide gas.

  • Pre-Intervention Quantitative Risk Factor Analysis for Ship Construction Processes. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Report No. EPHB 229-11a, (2000, November). Provides a risk factor analysis specific to rake frame subassembly, unloading angle irons, honeycomb confined space welding for double hull barges, and plate shop shear press operations.


The processes listed below include many of the major activities that occur during shipbuilding and ship repair. Each of the "process" links provides a description of the process and associated hazards.

Additional Information

Related Safety and Health Topics Pages

Other Resources

  • Profile of the Shipbuilding and Repair Industry [1 MB PDF, 135 pages]. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Sector Notebook Publication No. EPA/310-R-97-008, (1997, November). Contains detailed descriptions of the shipbuilding and repair industry, including information on industrial processes, chemical emissions, pollution prevention, and other related environmental concerns.

Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

*These files are provided for downloading.