Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA


Occupational Safety and Health Administration

U.S. Department of Labor

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Large Ship

Working with the Shipyard Industry

Shipyards operating in the United States often do not have the benefit of full-time, on-board safety and health specialists. Although help is available from workers’ compensation loss control consultants, or state consultation services, their consultants are not always familiar with the unique aspects and hazards of shipyard operations. To meet this need and help prevent injuries, the shipyard community and OSHA have jointly developed Safety and Health Injury Prevention Sheets (SHIPS).

Representatives of large and small shipyards around the country assisted OSHA in identifying the most frequent hazards and injuries in shipbuilding and ship repair work. Designed for both employers and workers, SHIPS presents information on hazard awareness and controls in a user-friendly format. Pictures from actual shipyards depict hazards and recommended solutions. The time-tested solutions presented are those the shipyard community has found to be most effective in reducing or eliminating shipyard injuries.

The goal of SHIPS is to reduce or eliminate unsafe work practices by increasing employer and worker awareness of safety and health hazards. The first SHIPS presented is Hot Work-Welding, Cutting and Brazing. Some of the material may need to be adapted to different size shipyards and different local conditions. We hope that you will find the information helpful in setting up a plan to make your shipyard a safer and more healthful place to work.

Hazard Definitions

  • Body Position - Injuries from awkward or prolonged static postures or hand gripping.
  • Repeated Trauma - Injuries which develop over time due to repeated motion, vibration, or pressure.
  • Over Exertion - Injuries brought about by extreme fatigue.
  • Eye Injuries - Injuries to the eye caused by some external agent or force.
  • Lifting - Injuries that occur from manually raising or lowering objects to a different level.
  • Falls - Injuries resulting from falling on the same or to a different level.
  • Burns - Injuries (usually to the skin) resulting from either thermal or radiant energy.
  • Shocks - Injuries resulting from an electrical current passing through the body.
  • Over exposure - Exposure which exceeds specified limits.
  • Traumatic Injury - Injury or wound brought about by an outside force that manifests itself immediately.


This document is not a standard or regulation and it creates no legal obligations. It is advisory in nature, informational in content, and intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. Mention or depiction of companies or trade name products in no way constitutes an endorsement by the Department of Labor.

For additional information on this Safety and Health Injury Prevention Sheet, contact the Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at 202-693-2300.

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