OSHA Fact Sheet

General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment Final Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new standard addressing the general working conditions in shipyard employment. This standard revises and consolidates, into a single subpart, existing requirements to reflect advances in industry practices and technology. In addition, this standard provides protection from hazards not addressed by existing shipyard standards, such as motor-vehicle safety and the control of hazardous energy.

In 1988, the Shipyard Employment Standards Advisory Committee (SESAC) was established to provide OSHA technical expertise and guidance to OSHA about revising the shipyard employment standards. SESAC finalized its recommendations for revisions to 29 CFR Part 1915, Subpart F in 1993. Those revisions were submitted and approved by the Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) in 1995. OSHA published the proposed rule in December 2007, and held public hearings in September and October 2008, with the public comment period closing February 2009.

  • The rule becomes effective and enforceable on August 1, 2011, except for the provisions in §1915.89, which become effective and enforceable on October 31, 2011.
  • The final rule, including the preamble discussion and the regulatory text, was published on May 2, 2011, in the Federal Register, and can be found at: http://www.osha.gov/FedReg_osha_pdf/FED20110502.pdf*.
  • In addition, a document containing only the regulatory text is available at: http://www.osha.gov/dts/maritime/standards/general_working_final_reg_textonly.pdf*.
  • Subpart F will be applicable to all shipyard employment at landside facilities, on vessels (including commercial fishing vessels), and in vessel sections. This rule does not apply to landside fish-processing facilities, which will continue to be covered by 29 CFR Part 1910 requirements.
  • This new standard will comprehensively address key hazards related to general working conditions in shipyards, including the following causes of worker death and injury: slips, trips, and falls; electrocution; and motor-vehicle safety.
  • This standard is expected to prevent 1.2 fatalities and 184.4 non-fatal injuries each year.
  • Significant requirements in this new rule include: accounting for employees working alone; providing an adequate number of trained first aid providers; the control of hazardous energy; and the use of seatbelts while operating motor vehicles.
  • The standard includes guidance on training and maintenance for those employers currently using automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in shipyard employment even though the standard does not require employers to provide AEDs.
  • Several provisions were modified from the proposed rule based on comments and testimony provided by shipyard employers, unions, and other stakeholders. For example:
    • Several definitions were added for clarity, and others were altered when there was confusion on specific terminology (29 CFR 1915.80);
    • Employees are permitted to use portable lights in dark spaces, not just handheld portable lights (29 CFR 1915.82);
    • Employers may rely on off-site emergency medical services in lieu of on-site first aid responders when the off-site service is able to reach the worksite within five minutes (29 CFR 1915.87);
    • Portable toilets may be included in the minimum number of required toilets (29 CFR 1915.88);
    • Employers may provide additional options for protecting pedestrians and bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic (29 CFR 1915.93); and
    • The standard also includes many performance-based requirements.
  • Lockout/tags-plus (29 CFR 1915.89), which is a modified version of the general industry standard for control of hazardous energy (29 CFR 1910.147), will be applied across all servicing operations in shipyard employment, including fish-processing plants onboard fishing vessels. Even though the maritime industry was exempt from the provisions in §1910.147, a number of shipyard employers commented that they were currently implementing many provisions from the general industry lockout/tagout standard. Some areas of lockout/tags-plus that are different than § 1910.147 include:
  • The addition of a lockout/tags-plus coordinator to oversee all servicing operations when multiple servicing operations take place at the same time, or when multiple employees perform servicing on the same machinery, equipment, or system;
  • The requirement for a log of all servicing operations, which will be maintained by the lockout/tags-plus coordinator. This log will be specific to each vessel, vessel section, and landside work area; and
  • Provisions for incident investigations, including a requirement that an investigation be initiated within 24 hours of each incident that resulted, or could have resulted, in the energization (startup) or release of hazardous energy during servicing operations.
  • State-plan States must issue job safety and health standards that are “at least as effective as” the comparable federal standards within 6 months after OSHA issues the standards. State-plan States also have the option to promulgate more stringent standards or standards covering hazards not addressed by federal standards.
  • As OSHA develops additional compliance-assistance material on this final rule, that material will be available at: http://www.osha.gov/dts/maritime/general_working_conditions.html

April 22, 2011

This is one in a series of informational fact sheets highlighting OSHA programs, policies or standards. It does not impose any new compliance requirements. For a comprehensive list of compliance requirements of OSHA standards or regulation, refer to Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations. This information will be made available to sensory-impaired individuals upon request. The voice phone is (202) 693-1999; teletypewriter (TTY) number: (877) 889-5627.

For more complete information:

  • Occupational
  • Safety and Health
  • Administration

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