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

Process: Shipfitting


Eye Injuries: Case History


A shipfitter was grinding and wearing both safety glasses and a face shield as required by company rules. During a stretch break, he raised his face shield, causing metal particles generated by the grinding to fall onto his face behind his safety glasses and into his eyes. When his eyes became itchy and watery he reported the injury to his supervisor, who sent him to the medical department for treatment.

welder removing his saftey helmet/face mask

Analysis and Preventive Measures

The frequency and potential severity of this type of injury led the shipyard to seek a permanent solution. A major safety equipment manufacturer was contacted. With input from shipyard employees, the manufacturer developed a prototype bracket frame featuring a firm rubber seal designed to form a barrier that will prevent debris from falling onto the face and into the eyes. The prototype is now being evaluated by the shipyard.

In the meantime, employees have been made aware of this problem during safety talks and are being instructed on the proper way to prepare and remove their face shield. They have been told to apply duct tape over the seam between the brim of the hard hat and the face shield bracket to form a seal. In addition, they have been told to lean forward when removing the hard hat, keeping the face-shield and seal intact instead of flipping the shield. The shield can then be inspected for debris, cleaned, and used again. Another viable solution used by other shipyards is to attach magnetic tape to the hard hat brim to prevent steel particles from falling onto the face when the hard hat and shield are removed.

duct tape seal

Duct tape seal

Prototype manufactured face-shield bracket with barrier

Prototype manufactured face-shield bracket with barrier


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