Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

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

Process: Shipboard Electrical


Electrical hazards that may result in shocks, burns, and electrocution


A shipyard electrical worker was about to begin work in an energized panel. He looked at the drawings and then locked out the circuit. Without testing to make sure that the panel was de-energized, he reached into the panel to begin work. The worker made contact with an energized circuit and was electrocuted.

worker looking at drawings
distribution panel
worker made contact with energized circuit
worker working on distribution panel
worker electrocuted and falling backward worker falling to the floor

Analysis and Preventive Measures

Despite system modifications, which made the worker’s set of drawings inaccurate, this incident could have been prevented by voltage testing the electrical panel before starting work. Taking the time to perform a simple voltage test can ensure that electrical workers safely complete their shift. When working on an electrical circuit it is important to isolate not only the circuit being worked on, but all other circuits where the possibility of contact with energized parts exists. This is because many feeds may supply power to a particular circuit. The use of lockout/tags-plus applications is essential to ensuring the safety of workers.

verify all energy isolation points
check/test at the point where work is to be done to ensure electrical panels or circuits are de-energized
inform all contractors and subcontractors of the ship's systems and/or modifications prior to beginning work


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