Process: Outfitting (also called "fitting out")


Ship or erection units are outfitted with propulsion equipment and support equipment, such as plumbing, electrical installations, etc. (Also includes painting operations after assembly, but these hazards are covered under "painting.")

  • Erection units may be outfitted before being added to the ship, or the ship may be entirely outfitted after assembly is completed. Processes associated with outfitting include painting, plumbing and electrical installation, installation of engines and boilers, completion of super structure and deck equipment and rigging, etc.1
  • Asbestos is used in two operations: (1) insulating piping and exhaust manifolds; and, (2) fire-proofing (combined with other linings) for living and working areas. Although asbestos is being replaced by magnesia bricks, fibrous glass products and rock wool, it is still used in certain applications.2
  • All equipment associated with plumbing, electrical, and insulation installation, carpentry, painting, boiler making, etc.
Associated Hazards
  • Hearing loss from noise - noise is pervasive. Engineering controls are difficult to implement because workstations are not fixed. Reverberant noise and confined spaces increases hazard. An extensive hearing protection program is required.
  • Respiratory irritation and poisoning from exposures to toxic fumes and particles during painting.
  • Injuries from fire, asphyxiation, toxic exposures upon entry into confined spaces during ship building and repair.
  • Eye injuries from metal chips and rust are a prevalent injury. For standards covering eye and face protection, which requires eye protection that meets specifications of the American Standard Safety Code for Head, Eye and Respiratory Protection, Z2.1, see 29 CFR 1915.153.
  • Fires, explosions from welding operations. For standards covering fire prevention during welding operations in shipbuilding and repair, see 29 CFR 1915, Subpart D. Sections 29 CFR 1915.53(b)-(c) covers fire prevention where welding operations involve preservative coatings. Welders sometimes use compressed oxygen to ventilate spaces, blow dust off clothes, or cool their bodies, thereby increasing fire hazard.3
  • Exposure to pyrolysis products during welding operations. For standards covering welding operations in the presence of toxic preservative coatings, see 29 CFR 1915.53(d). Hazard is increased by confined spaces where fumes may also affect nearby workers. For standards covering the maintenance of gas-free conditions, see 29 CFR 1915.15.
  • Respiratory damage or chronic disease from exposure to asbestos - installation of asbestos is being used much less recently. New installation methods have greatly reduced exposure levels. Exhaust ventilation is often adequate when new application methods are used.4 Severe exposures occur during repair when insulation is removed. For a detailed description of a shipyard asbestos control program, see Beckett.5
  • Electrocution from portable electric hand tools and lights - portable tools and lights are used extensively. Double-insulation is preferred to grounding.3
    For standards covering portable hand tools, see 29 CFR 1915.132.
  • Electrocution while working on ships' electrical circuits - circuits must be de-energized and tagged during work.3
    For standards covering electrical circuits and distribution boards, see 29 CFR 1915.181.
  • Frost bite, hypothermia, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, dehydration, etc., from exposure to extreme weather (heat stress).
  • Drowning, injuries from falls - 70% of falls result from equipment failures of scaffolds and ladders.3
    For standards covering scaffolds, ladders and other working surfaces, see 29 CFR 1915, Subpart E. Drowning results from falls from staging, decks, and end and wings wall of dry docks. Work over and near water requires life jackets, but compliance is difficult to enforce.3
    For standards covering types and maintenance of lifesaving equipment, see 29 CFR 1915.158. For standards covering personal flotation devices, which references Coast Guard standards, 46 CFR 160 and 33 CFR 175.23, see 29 CFR 1915.158(a). OSHA has issued two instructions that concern falling hazards. OSHA instruction STD 03-10-006 [STD 3-10.6] covers restrictions on welding from float and ship scaffolds and clarifies a contradiction between 29 CFR 1926.451(w) and 29 CFR 1926.451(a)(18) by allowing welding from these scaffolds providing the supporting ropes are without flaws and of adequate size. OSHA instruction STD 1-11.2B concerns work platforms suspended from lattice or hydraulic crane booms, and clarifies 29 CFR 1926.550(b)(2) by allowing the use of such platforms only when the procedure is safer than alternative available work practices.
  • Thermal burns during work on ships' boilers and piping - before beginning work, protocol for locking out the system must be followed. For standards covering ships' boilers and piping systems, see 29 CFR 1915.162-163.

1 "Shipbuilding." McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (1977).

2 Gloss, D. S. and Wardle, M.G. Introduction to Safety Engineering. New York: Wiley, 1984.

3 Netterson, R.W. "Accident prevention in shipbuilding and repairing." Safety and Health in Shipbuilding and Ship Repair, International Labor Office, Geneva, 1972.

4 Haglind, O. "Occupational health in the shipbuilding industry." Safety and Health in Shipbuilding and Ship Repair, International Labor Office, Geneva, 1972.

5 Beckett, R. R. "Asbestos control at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard." National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Contract Report 099-74-0002 (NTIS PB-82-225-095). Proceedings of the International Shipyard Health Conference, (December 13-15, 1973).