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

Process: Shipfitting

 

Burns and Shocks: Case History 3 and 4

CASE HISTORY 3

An employee came back out on the deck after a sudden rain storm. He was in a hurry to move the welding machine to complete a job before lunch.

The shipfitter knew not to stand in the water while working with electrical equipment, but he failed to notice that the thin plywood he stood on submerged the moment he stepped on it. His clothes and boots were already wet from the storm.

When he touched the equipment, the circuit was completed and current ran through his body.

The employee had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

welding equipment sitting in a puddle on rusty ship deck
Analysis and Preventive Measures

The shipfitter had underestimated the risk of shock and overestimated his margin of safety. His first step should have been to trace the power back to its source and disconnect the equipment before attempting to move any equipment. Training may help to prevent these types of injuries.

CASE HISTORY 4

When a shipfitter arrived onboard the ship at the start of a shift, he discovered water on the deck from an overnight rainstorm. He knew of the risk of shock, so he stood on the coaming around the door opening before reaching for the welding machine.

Unfortunately, both his boots and work gloves got soaked on his way to the job site.

When the employee touched the welding machine, he completed the circuit and current ran through him. He had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

diagram: illustration of worker being electrocuted
Analysis and Preventive Measures

As in the previous example, the employee had underestimated the risk and overestimated his margin of safety. When water is present, always trace the power back to its source and disconnect the equipment before making contact with any piece of equipment. Training may help to prevent these types of injuries.

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