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April 7, 2010
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

New document addresses shipbreaking worker safety

WASHINGTON -- Shipbreaking workers are exposed to asbestos, falls, electric shock and fires when removing gear and equipment from outdated ships and breaking down these vessels for recycling. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Safe Work Practices in Shipbreaking document offers ways to help protect workers from injury and death and outlines employers' obligations for providing safe work environments for their workers.

The document, available online only, includes references to OSHA standards, such as fire protection in shipyards, and explains that employers are required to have emergency response and fire prevention plans. "Shipbreaking workers' safety and health depend on their employers following the standards meant to prevent work-related hazards," said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels.

The document also highlights information on shipbreaking safety and health issues through references and hyperlinks to OSHA regulations. These regulations can help employers develop safety and health programs to protect workers through all phases of the shipbreaking process.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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