Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

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

Process: Shipfitting


Falls: Problems and Solutions


access hatch with grate open

Deck openings or penetrations create fall hazards if not properly guarded.

man standing on single plank of wood

Horse staging is frequently used to access areas where work is to be done. While fall protection such as back rails is not required unless the staging is above five feet, working from a single plank is not a safe or acceptable practice. A fall of just a few feet can result in serious injury.

pipes with exposed ends

During ship construction or refitting, trip hazards may be unavoidable and may pose the potential for impalement.


open hatch cover with guardrails

Pipe guardrails can be quickly erected to provide adequate fall protection. Make sure that the materials to provide fall protection are readily available on hand prior to removing the cover or to making an access cut. This will eliminate the need for the shipfitter to leave the unguarded opening unattended while obtaining the necessary materials for fall protection.

two planks mounted side by side

Double planking with two10-inch planks provides the extra width needed to ensure that a step backward will not end in the emergency room. Planks must extend at least six inches beyond the supports, but not more than twelve inches. When horse staging reaches five feet in height, fall protection (such as guardrails) must also be used and toeboards may be needed as well.

safety covers being applied to entire ship deck

Studs and pipe caps (as seen here) can prevent trip or fall hazards from resulting in impalement.

closeup of safety covers being applied to entire ship deck


Back to Top

Thank You for Visiting Our Website

You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.

The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.