Scaffolds (Staging) >> Hanging Staging (Marine)

What Is Marine Hanging Staging?

Marine hanging staging is a suspended scaffolding system that is especially useful when workers are performing abrasive blasting and painting work in or on a vessel or vessel section.

The staging is typically rigged as paired assemblies of wire rope hung from overhead anchorages. Struts are then attached to the wire rope pairs at various heights to support manufactured planks. Oftentimes, several assemblies are joined together to form continuous levels of staging inside a vessel compartment.

What Is the Purpose of This Section of the Shipyard Employment eTool?

The purpose of this section of the Ship Repair module of the Shipyard Employment eTool is to help employers design, assemble, use, and dismantle marine hanging staging in a manner that is safe for workers. Because safety considerations can be greater for marine hanging staging than with other types of work platforms, marine hanging staging typically is used when other options are not available or feasible. The use of marine hanging staging is becoming more common in shipyard operations because it can be adapted to a variety of hull configurations.

The safe use of the staging requires careful planning and proper work practices. Marine hanging staging is not specifically covered by an OSHA standard or other national consensus standard, so the Agency is providing guidance in this eTool to assist employers with their duty to ensure the safety of workers who install, use, and dismantle this type of staging.

What's Covered in This Section of the eTool?

This guidance information on marine hanging staging is organized into the following topic areas. In general, the topic areas highlight safe work practices (SWPs) and safety considerations regarding key staging components.

Source and Limitations of This Section of the eTool's Guidance Information

The contents of this section of the eTool that specifically addresses marine hanging staging are from an OSHA guidance document from the Office of Maritime, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, D.C.: Safe Work Practices for Marine Hanging Staging. (April 2005). (This document is also available as a PDF)

The guidance in the source document is based on design criteria and work practices developed and used by shipyards in Virginia and their regional association, the Virginia Ship Repair Association, Inc. (VSRA). OSHA has reviewed the testing of component parts of this system (based on 5/8-inch wire rope cables for suspension) and specifications for various components. In addition, the Agency had the specifications reviewed by a registered professional engineer to ensure that the components had sufficient strength for their intended use. The Agency has concluded that, as specified and designed, the components are sufficiently strong when used within their rated capacity.

The source document and this section of the eTool have several important limitations. The information does not cover all forms and sizes of marine hanging staging, and the staging's safety is highly dependent on proper design, material selection, installation, and use. Each marine hanging staging installation will be unique, and the recommendations in this guidance document should be adapted to the particular circumstances of the installation. Therefore, OSHA does not guarantee the safety of any individual installation.

OSHA recommends that employers use only trained workers under the supervision of a qualified person (discussed below) to erect and dismantle marine hanging staging. OSHA further recommends that employers train workers and others who use the staging to recognize unsafe acts and conditions related to the equipment.

This eTool guidance document is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply with hazard-specific safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, the Act's General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Employers and employees in States with OSHA-approved State Plans that cover private sector on-shore maritime activities (currently California, Minnesota, Vermont, and Washington) should contact the State for specific requirements that may differ from the Federal requirements.