OSHA seeks information to update fall protection standards in shipyards

Standards adopted 45 years ago, never modified

Posted September 12, 2016

OSHA issued a Request for Information (RFI) on September 8 as the agency considers updating its safety standards that addresses falls in shipbuilding, ship repair, shipbreaking, and other shipyard-related employment.

Specifically, the RFI seeks comments and information on the safe access and egress of vessels, buildings, and other structures in shipyard employment (including the use of stairways and ladders); use of fall and falling object protection; and erection, use, and dismantling of scaffolding systems.

The agency has not updated these standards since adopting them in 1971. The current standards do not cover all access/egress hazards and do not address advances in technology such as new scaffold systems. Information obtained from the RFI will provide OSHA with insight on current practices used to protect workers from shipyard hazards, and will help the agency determine if revisions or updates to the standards are necessary.

Comments and materials may be submitted electronically to the Federal eRulemaking Portal using docket number OSHA-2013-0022. The submission deadline is December 7, 2016.

OSHA says fall hazards are a leading cause of shipyard fatalities. Forty percent of all fatal occupational incidents in shipyard employment from 1992 to 2014 were caused by falls to a lower level, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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