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3 Common Maritime Safety Issues

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on April 9, 2020 at 10:10 AM

There are no two ways around it: shipyard workers have difficult jobs. And yet, the U.S. economy depends on them to stay strong, transporting goods all over the world in an efficient manner.

That means that as a safety worker, you’re going to work hard in a shipyard. The problem is knowing where to begin with maritime safety issues – the potential problems are so diverse that you could spend a week getting acquainted with all of them.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most common maritime safety issues currently facing the industry and what your team can do to counteract them.

Fire and Explosions

Fires and explosions in shipyards can be caused by:

  • Flammable or combustible cleaning solvents
  • Liquids with high flash points when applied as fine mist
  • Liquids with low flash points (less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Flammable or combustible airborne particulates or dust
  • Hydrogen gas generated during cleaning
  • Reactive cargoes

In addition, shipyard workers often conduct their jobs in close proximity to live electrical wires and heat. When combined with flammable compounds and lack of worker knowledge, the net result is an unusually high risk of fire.

The best way to counteract this hazard is safety awareness. Workers need to understand the risk of various compounds and how to deal with fire hazards safely, as well as how to put out a fire.

Slips and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls are the third most common cause of injuries in all U.S. industries, with 25.8% of all workplace injuries caused by slip, trip, and fall accidents.

Many slip, trip, and fall accidents occur when:

  • Workers slip and fall from oily or greasy ladders
  • Workers slip and fall from oily or wet decks
  • Workers trip over maritime safety equipment, tools, hoses, and vessel structures

The best way to counteract these hazards is good housekeeping. All work areas should be clean and clear to prevent the risk of tripping. Drill this into your workers’ heads. Tools should never be set down for “just a minute”. If they have to be set down, they should be put away.

Environmental Conditions

Unfortunately, the environmental conditions found in shipyards pose their own threat to your workforce.

That’s because the working environment of shipyards is so diverse. One day, your workers could face significant heat, while another day, they may have cold hazards. Even within the same day, environmental conditions can change depending on where you are in the shipyard.

This can range from dehydration to heat stress, a serious medical condition requiring immediate hospitalization.

To counteract these conditions, your workers should be provided with sufficient breaks and the training to know what PPE to use based on the environmental conditions in front of them.

Handling Maritime Safety Issues

We know that the challenges posed by maritime safety issues never stop. That’s why we provide safety software tailored to the needs of ships, shipyards, and their workers, no matter what your workday looks like.

If you and your team need to update your safety tools, we’re here to help. Get in touch today to learn more.

Further Reading:

Topics: Maritime

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