Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor

Process: Shipboard Electrical



Workers in the shipyard industry face unique conditions and complex situations that put them at greater risk for injuries and/or death. This is especially true during the servicing of machinery, equipment, or systems where there is the potential for inadvertent startup or the release of hazardous energy. The complexity of these types of operations is compounded by the intricacy of the worksite; the large number of workers in the work- force; the involvement of multiple employers; and the vast array of machinery, equipment, and systems that workers may be servicing.

This guidance document is designed to highlight electrical hazards associated with shipboard electrical work. The information presented was obtained primarily from shipyard personnel and reflects actual shipyard experiences. Employers and workers are encouraged to communicate and share experiences to ensure a safe and healthful work environment for all workers.

Resource Materials:

This document does not address ergonomic exposures. Extensive research on ergonomic exposures and possible solutions in shipyard employment can be found at: Guidelines for Shipyards (PDF*).

This document also does not address exposures that occur during construction work, including construction work performed in shipyards or at other maritime job sites.  For construction activity requirements, please see 29 CFR 1926.

Additional information is available from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) at:

The diversity and dynamics of shipboard electrical work make it impossible to list all applicable standards in this document. 29 CFR Part 1915 applies to all ship repairing, shipbuilding and shipbreaking employment and its related activities, including shipboard electrical work.  In some cases (e.g., work practices) the General Industry Standards contained in 29 CFR Part 1910 may be applicable (1910.333 – 1910.399).  Guidance for applicability of standards can be found in OSHA's Shipyard Employment "Tool Bag" Directive, CPL 02-00-142 dated August 3, 2006. This directive is located on the OSHA website.

Employer Assistance:

Help for Employers (Small Businesses)

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites.  On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.  Consultations from state agencies or universities work with employer to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health management systems.  To locate the OSHA On-site Consultation Program nearest you, call 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA) or visit OSHA's Small Business page.

State-plan States

States with OSHA-approved state plans may have different requirements. See OSHA's State Occupational Safety and Health Plans page.


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

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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