Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
29 CFR 1915, Subpart F

Ships - Shipyard Employment


  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Directorate of Standards and Guidance
  • Office of Maritime
  • April 2011

This document provides general guidance about OSHA's general working conditions in shipyard employment standard (29 CFR Part 1915, Subpart F). The questions and answers in this document do not themselves impose enforceable obligations: such obligations are imposed only by the standard. The FAQs are divided into six sections:

A - General Questions

A-1 When will the rule be effective?

Subpart F will be effective and enforceable on August 1, 2011, except for the provisions of § 1915.89, Control of hazardous energy, which will become effective on October 31, 2011.

A-2 Where can I find a copy of the rule?

The rule is available at http://www.osha.gov/FedReg_osha_pdf/FED20110502.pdf* or at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-05-02/pdf/2011-9567.pdf.

A-3 When will compliance assistance materials be available to the public?

OSHA posted this FAQ and anticipates having fact sheets and other material available soon. OSHA will post these materials on this website as they become available.

A-4 How does this new rule affect those States that administer their own OSHA-approved safety and health plan?

State-plan States must have job safety and health standards that are "at least as effective as" comparable federal standards. State-plan States have the option to promulgate more stringent standards or standards covering hazards not addressed by federal standards.

A-5 Who has to follow the final requirements?

This final rule addresses general working conditions in shipyard employment. Therefore, all employers with employees engaged in ship building, ship repair, or shipbreaking will be covered under this rulemaking. In addition, these rules will apply on vessels, on vessel sections, and at landside operations, regardless of geographic location.

A-6 What are the costs and benefits associated with the proposed standard?

The proposed rule is estimated to prevent 1.2 workplace fatalities per year and nearly 350 injury cases. The final rule has an estimated annual cost of $4.2 million, with estimated monetized benefits of $33.8 million per year. These figures equate to estimated net benefits of $29.6 million per year. A full description of the costs and benefits of this standard are available in the Federal Register notice of the final rule at Section IV, Final Economic Analysis and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis.

B - Housekeeping, Lighting, and Working Alone Questions

B-1 Am I required to provide footwear for my employees working in rain and/or snow?

No. Employers need to remove slippery conditions, including snow and ice, on walkways and working surfaces as necessary for safe passage. Where such removal is infeasible, one option is for employers to provide slip-resistant footwear in accordance with 29 CFR 1915, subpart I, "Personal Protective Equipment." However, the PPE provisions do not require employers to pay for weather-related PPE.

B-2 What kind of lighting can I use for employees entering dark spaces?

Handheld portable lights, such as flashlights or glow sticks; lights attached to hard hats; any other portable light that an employee can wear; or emergency lights installed in any dark space an employee must enter.

B-3 If I hear my employee's tool running in an isolated space, does that meet the requirement to account for the employee?

No. Tools can sometimes run without an employee engaging them, such as when an injured employee drops the tool and it continues to run. Thus, relying on the sound of a running tool is not an acceptable method of accounting for the employee. Employers must account for employees by visual contact or verbal communication, which could include cell phone or radio.

C - Medical Services/First Aid and Sanitation Questions

C-1 What is considered an adequate number of employees trained as first aid providers?

Each employer will need to use discretion and evaluate the size, location, number of employees, and hazards at each worksite. In addition, employers should consider the distance from hospitals, clinics, and rescue squads.

Generally, employers should have at least one first aid provider at each worksite, during each shift, who can respond in an emergency and reach the injured/ill employee within 5 minutes of the report of a life-threatening injury or illness. However, there are two exceptions to this requirement. The employer does not need to have first aid-trained employees on site (1) if there is an on-site clinic or infirmary with first aid providers during each workshift, or (2) if the employer can demonstrate that outside first aid providers (i.e., emergency medical services) can reach the worksite within 5 minutes of a report of injury or illness.

C-2 I have a medical clinic at my facility that is open during two of the three work shifts. Do I still need to have employees trained as first aid providers?

During work shifts when the clinic is open, the standard does not require employers to have employees trained as first aid providers. For the third shift when the clinic is closed, the employer needs an adequate number of first aid providers (unless outside first aid providers can reach the worksite within 5 minutes of the report of the injury or illness).

C-3 I have AEDs throughout my shipyard. Are there any requirements for AEDs?

No. However, OSHA included guidance for employers in the non-mandatory Appendix A to § 1915.87 that employers and employees may find useful. Employers should locate the AEDs so they can be used within 3 to 5 minutes of the medical emergency. Employers also should use, inspect, test, and maintain the AEDs in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.

C-4 When will OSHA allow employers to use portable toilets in lieu of sewered toilets?

Employers must always provide a minimum number of toilets per sex; the standard bases the minimum number on the number of employees at the worksite. However, employers may include portable toilets in the minimum number when it is not feasible to provide sewered toilets, or when there is a short-term, temporary increase in the number of employees. In addition, employers must vent these portable toilets and, as necessary, equip them with lighting.

C-5 What are some examples of it being infeasible to install sewered toilets?

Docks/piers where employers perform work and are restricted from installing permanent piping for sewered toilets due to environmental constraints; docks/piers where employers perform only minimal work involving a few employees for a short duration; when vessel owners do not allow shipyard employees to use their restroom facilities, or have the system shut down; or any situation that would impose an undue burden for employers to install sewered toilets.

C-6 I hire temporary employees throughout the year based on my work. How can I comply with the minimum toilet requirements?

Example Scenario: During the 3rd quarter of the year, the workforce increases from 25 to 100 employees, then during the 4th quarter it drops to 55 employees. In addition, this employer currently has 3 sewered toilets for each sex.

Quarters Number of Workers Employed Minimum Number of Toilets Required (per sex) Comments
1 16 2 No supplement of portables needed
2 25 2 No supplement of portables needed
3 100 5 May add 2 portable toilets1
4 55 3 No supplement of portables needed

1Employers must vent portable toilets and, as necessary, provide them with lighting. In addition, each portable toilet must be capable of being locked from the inside.

D - General Lockout/Tags-Plus Questions

D-1 Why are the § 1915 and § 1910 standards for the control of hazardous energy different?

The §1915 final rule retains the substance of the general industry lockout/tagout provisions while adding provisions that are more compatible with protecting workers in shipyard employment than the general industry rule. In addition, OSHA reorganized and clarified the requirements in the final rule.

While the basic tenets of the lockout/tags-plus standard are similar to the general industry standard, the Agency made modifications that will better suit the maritime industry. These modifications include requirements for a lockout/tags-plus coordinator and lockout/tags-plus log; the clarification of additional safety measures when using a tags-plus system; and requirements for training, incident investigations, and maintaining records.

D-2 What does "tags-plus" mean?

A tag, plus an additional energy-isolating device. This terminology makes explicit the same requirement found in § 1910.147.

D-3 Can the responsibilities of the lockout/tags-plus coordinator be a collateral duty (i.e., a supervisor who also is the coordinator)?

Yes. This practice is acceptable, as long as the coordinator responds to issues in a timely manner and is appropriately trained.

D-4 Is it acceptable for multiple coordinators to be assigned throughout a work day (i.e., different workshifts) or over the course of a project?

Yes, as long as there is continuity, consistency, and communication during coordinator changes or turnover. The lockout/tags-plus log must be a continuous record of all lockout/tags-plus applications for the project. In addition, procedures must remain consistent between coordinators.

D-5 Is OSHA requiring two written programs, one for landside and the other for vessels (shipboard)?

No. One lockout/tags-plus written program will be developed and followed for shipyard employment, which will apply to servicing operations that occur atlandside facilities, and on vessels and vessel sections.

D-6 Are the written control procedures the same as the written program?

No. Paragraph 1915.89(b) requires employers to establish and implement a written program, and procedures for lockout and tags-plus systems to control hazardous energy during the servicing of any machinery, equipment, or system in shipyard employment. The written procedures are the steps for lockout/tags- plus that protect employees while they service machinery, equipment, or systems. These steps are described in paragraphs (d) through (m) for servicing operations.

The written program includes the written procedures; specifications for locks and tags-plus hardware in accordance with paragraph (n); employee information and training in accordance with paragraph (o); incident investigations in accordance with paragraph (p); and program audits in accordance with paragraph (q).

E -Lockout/Tags-Plus Questions when Navy Ship's Force is in Control of the machinery, equipment, or systems being serviced

E-1 The final rule includes several notes referring to situations when "Navy ship's force" has control of the hazardous-energy program being used and the machinery, equipment, or system undergoing servicing. What does this mean?

The standard defines "Navy ship's force" as "the crew of a vessel that is owned or operated by the U.S. Navy, other than a time- or voyage-chartered vessel, that is under the control of a Commanding Officer or Master." When the Navy ship's force maintains control of the machinery, equipment, or systems being serviced on a vessel, the ship's force also will control any hazardous energy associated with the machinery, equipment, or systems. In such cases, the employer (i.e., shipyard employer) has no control over the application or removal of the Navy's locks or tags and is prohibited from starting up the machinery, equipment, or systems being serviced aboard the vessel.

E-2 Where do these notes appear?

These exceptions exist in paragraphs 29 CFR 1915.89(c)(4), (c)(6), (c)(7), (e), (f), (h), (i), (j), (k)(2), and (l).

E-3 What obligation does the shipyard employer have in these particular scenarios?

Although the employer is not in control of the Navy's hazardous-energy systems and procedures, the exceptions do not relieve the employer of its responsibility to protect authorized employees performing the servicing operation aboard the Navy-owned and -operated vessels.

The Agency believes that employers performing servicing on U.S. Navy-owned and ‑operated vessels are already coordinating with the Navy ship's force during servicing to ensure sufficient employee protection. These notes clarify the practices that are currently taking place during situations in which the U.S. Navy has control over its vessels and the machinery, equipment, or systems aboard those vessels during servicing operations.

E-4 Based on the requirements of the new lockout/tags-plus rule, is the employer responsible for the safety of its employees if the Navy has control of the equipment and power to that equipment?

Regardless of who has control over the application of hazardous-energy control systems, the employer is always required to ensure the safety of its employees. If the employer identifies a weakness in the Navy's programs or procedures, the employer must coordinate with the Navy to remedy the situation. In addition, if the corrective action taken by the Navy does not satisfy the employer, the employer must protect its employees, even if this requires the employer to stop work.

E-5 If an employer believes that the energy isolation method being used by the Navy is unsafe, what right does the employer have in this situation? Who makes the determination of what is safe or unsafe?

The shipyard employer is responsible for the safety of its employees. In a case where the shipyard employer considers the Navy's hazardous-energy control system to be unsafe, the shipyard employer must not allow its employees to begin work. The shipyard employer and the Navy ship's force should then work together to make the work environment and work practices safe. If work is already in progress, the shipyard employer must stop work and coordinate with the Navy ship's force to make it safe for employees to resume servicing.

E-6 Do Navy shipyards have to follow the lockout/tags-plus requirements of § 1915. 89?

In cases where private-sector shipyard employees are performing servicingoperations in shipyard employment, § 1915.89 applies. However, the final rule contains several notes that allowcertain exceptionsfrom §1915.89 when shipyard employees service vessels owned and operated by the U.S. Navy. For any servicing operations performedsolely by uniformed military personnel, OSHA does not have jurisdiction. The U.S. Navy is responsible for ensuring protection of its uniformed military personnel.

E-7 If an employer is working in a shipyard on a naval vessel, which hazardous- energy control program must the employer follow?

If the Navy has control over the machinery, equipment, or systems being serviced and applies a hazardous-energy control program, then the Navy's program is in effect. The shipyard employer's responsibility in this case is to coordinate with the Navy ship's force to ensure thesafetyof itsemployees. Shipyard employees do not participate in, or comply with, the Navy's hazardous-energy control program and procedures because the shipyard employees' only function is to perform servicing. The Navy ship's force has complete control over the machinery, equipment, or systems being serviced, as well as the lockout/tags-plus applications used to secure them.

E-8 My employees are working on a vessel that is under the control of Navy ship's force. Am I required to provide my employees with additional training?

In the case where the Navy has control over the machinery, equipment, or systems being serviced and applies its hazardous-energy control program and procedures, no additional training is necessary for shipyard authorized employees performing the servicing. Therefore, there are no associated costs. However, the employer is responsible for ensuring the safety of its employees and must coordinate with the Navy ships' force to ensure that safe procedures and practices are being followed.

E-9 Are employers required to conduct audits on programs and procedures in use by the Navy on the isolation of naval vessels' machinery, equipment, or systems?

If the Navy ship's force is applying the hazardous-energy control applications and has control over their machinery, equipment, or system, then the Navy will keep its own log and perform the audit. However, the shipyard coordinator must coordinate with the Navy to ensure the safety of the shipyardemployees performing servicing operations.

F - Motor Vehicle Questions

F-1 Are employees required to wear seat belts on shipyard property even if they are driving their personal vehicles?

Yes. Each employee operating or riding in a motor vehicle on shipyard property must wear a seat belt, regardless of who owns the vehicle.

F-2 My shipyard is in New Hampshire, which has no seat belt law. Do I still have to wear a seat belt?

Yes. See the response to the previous question.

F-3 I purchased a used pick-up truck in 2010 for my employees to drive on my property and it does not have seatbelts. Am I required to retrofit this truck with seat belts?

No. Since the employer purchased the vehicle prior to August 1, 2011, there is no need to retrofit the vehicle with seat belts. However, if the employer purchased, or initially used, the truck after August 1, 2011, then the truck must have seat belts.

F-4 I allow my employees to ride in the back of pick-up trucks. Is that practice still acceptable?

No. Each employee operating or riding in a motor vehicle must use a seat belt, and each motor vehicle must have a secured seat for each employee.

F-5 How can I protect pedestrians on shipyard property?

Many shipyards have both pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic in the same vicinity. In addition, some shipyards allow employees to use bicycles to travel in the workplace. There are several ways an employer can separate, and protect, these employees.

  • Establish dedicated travel lanes for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles;
  • Install crosswalks, stop signs, mirrors at blind spots, or physical barriers;
  • Establish and enforce appropriate speed limits for motor vehicles;
  • Establish "no drive times" so that pedestrians can freely walk without being exposed to motor vehicles;
  • Provide reflective vests for pedestrians and/or bicyclists;
  • Provide reflectors, lights, mirrors, etc., for bicyclists; or
  • Develop other means of protecting pedestrians and bicyclists.

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