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OSHA Trade Release
September 14, 2004
Contact: Bill Wright
Phone: (202) 693-1999

Final Rule Published on Fire Protection for Shipyard Employment
Standard incorporates recommendations from Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee

WASHINGTON -- Shipyard workers will now be afforded the same level of protection against fire hazards as employees in other industries thanks to a new rule announced today by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Fire Protection in Shipyard Employment final rule, scheduled to be published in tomorrow's Federal Register, was developed through the negotiated rulemaking process and will provide increased protection from fire hazards for nearly 100,000 workers in the shipbuilding, ship repair and ship breaking industries.

"Through the negotiated rulemaking process, stakeholders from all aspects of the industry provided excellent guidance to address safety and health risks associated with shipyard fire hazards," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "Those risks, and the hazards involved with firefighting activities at shipyards, are considerably different from other industries and we believe the requirements outlined in this standard will help save lives and prevent injuries in the industry."

The final rule incorporates 19 consensus standards from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and includes relevant information from other sources, including OSHA's general industry standard on fire protection, as well as procedures from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard.

The standard requires a written fire watch policy and also discontinues the practice of allowing workers who perform hot work such as welding, cutting, or grinding to act as their own fire watch. The rule also affords employers flexibility by allowing them to rely on a combination of fire response organizations (e.g., internal, external, or both) rather than requiring them to establish internal fire brigades.

Other specific issues detailed in the final rule include training, multi-employer worksites, hot work precautions, hazards of fixed extinguishing systems onboard vessels and vessel sections, and land-side fire protection systems. The rule includes a model fire safety plan that employers can use to develop their site-specific plans. A key part of any safety plan includes discussions of employee evacuation procedures.

The new standard will impact approximately 700 employers, and covers all fire response provided by the employers' workers, whether part of a fire brigade, shipyard fire department, or designated by the employer. . OSHA is also requiring the 26 states and territories with their own OSHA-approved state plans to revise their standards regulating means of egress, emergency action plans, and fire prevention plans that resulted from this rulemaking.

OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


This news release text is on the Internet at Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.
Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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