OSHA Announces Maritime Safety Meeting

MONDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2023


The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced that it is holding a meeting of the Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) on Nov. 14.

According to a release from OSHA, the meeting will cover reports from the Shipyard and Longshoring workgroups, a presentation on the OSHA’s social media and outreach platforms, and a U.S. Navy presentation on maritime fall protection.

The administration states that updates from its Directorate of Standards and Guidance, the Office of Maritime and Agriculture, as well as from agency leaders on the OSHA heat standard rulemaking initiative will also be given.

When registered, online attendees should reportedly be sent a link to get into to the meeting, while in-person attendees should expect to receive directions for participation. In-person attendance by the public is reportedly limited to 25 people.

The release states that committee members plan to meet in person, though the event will be open to the public in person and online. The full committee will meet from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST, and the Shipyard and Longshoring workgroups plan to meet from 1 to 5 p.m. EST.

OSHA states that those that are interested can submit comments and requests to speak to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, Docket Number OSHA-2022-0011-0043, by Oct. 31. 

The administration adds that participants should include the docket number on all submissions. Read the Federal Register notice for submission details.

MACOSH reportedly aids the Secretary of Labor in creating maritime industry standards and matters regarding the administration of the Occupational Safety and Health Act for the maritime industry. 

Registration for the meeting can be found here.

Related Actions from OSHA

In February, OSHA released a fact sheet regarding the hazards related to the use of preservative coatings in hot work processes on marine vessels. 

The sheet, titled “Evaluation and Control of Hazards from Preservative Coatings during Hot Work on Vessels,” outlined the evaluation of preservative coatings on marine vessels and techniques for preventing exposures to toxic substances.

According to OSHA, while preservative coatings containing lead, chromium, cadmium, zinc or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) had been eliminated, potential for worker exposures to these compounds at dangerous concentrations still existed. When applying heat to preservative coatings used on vessels, such as paint, workers could have been exposed to gases, vapors and aerosols that are flammable and harmful.

As a result of this inhalation exposure, workers could have experienced neurological, reproductive, developmental or respiratory damage. Fires and explosions could also result from the gases created from heating toxic preservative coatings.

OSHA outlines several safety measures that must be taken prior to starting hot work where preservative coatings are present:

  • Evaluate work areas to identify potential hazards, including the atmospheric testing to ensure there are no concentrations of flammable vapors 10 percent or greater than the lower explosive limit;
  • Sample and test preservative coatings with unknown flammability to determine if hot work can be safely performed. Preservative coatings must be considered to be highly flammable when scrapings burn with extreme rapidity;
  • Remove highly flammable hardened preservative coatings from the location of intended heat application to prevent ignition. Verify that the method used for removing the flammable coating, such as chemical removers, will not cause a reaction, leading to fire or explosion; and
  • Strip toxic preservative coatings at least four inches on all sides surrounding the area of intended heat application, or provide workers with air line respirators in enclosed and confined spaces. Air purifying respirators must be worn by workers in open air operations during hot work on surfaces coated with toxic preservatives. Ensure filters, cartridges, or canisters used are appropriate for the specific air contaminant of exposure.

When possible, OSHA recommended that shipyard employers also consider alternatives to hot work, including cold work. Artificial cooling equipment can be used to cool surface areas to limit the amount of preservative coatings that need to be removed.

A flow chart was also featured in the sheet, allowing users to determine the best processes when working with preservative coatings.

In May, OSHA announced that it had begun a National Emphasis Program to prevent falls in the construction industry. According to the administration, falls are the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries and the violation the agency cites most frequently in construction industry inspections. 

The emphasis program would reportedly focus on reducing fall-related injuries and fatalities for people working at heights in all industries. The targeted enforcement program is based on historical Bureau of Labor Statistics data and OSHA enforcement history, including data showing that of the 5,190 fatal workplace injuries in 2021, 680 were associated with falls from elevations, or about 13% of all deaths.

OSHA reported that the program established guidance for locating and inspecting fall hazards and allows OSHA compliance safety and health officers to open inspections whenever they observe someone working at heights.

Additionally, an outreach component of the program was meant to focus on educating employers about effective ways to keep their workers safe. If a compliance officer determined an inspection was not necessary after entering a worksite and observing work activities, they would provide outreach on fall protection and leave the site.

Held during the first week of May, the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. The event also follows Workers Memorial Day, which was hosted on April 28. 

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Construction; Department of Labor; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Industry News; Marine; NA; North America; OSHA; OSHA; Program/Project Management; Regulations; Safety; Ships and vessels; Worker training; Workers

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