What are some examples of potential safety hazards that could be eliminated or minimized for shipyard workers?

Expert Answers
marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the biggest job and safety hazards in a Los Angeles shipyard were:

"excessive noise levels, confined space entry hazards, fall and electrical hazards, exposure to airborne contaminants such as cadmium, nickel, chromium, zinc and iron metal fumes . . . "

in addition to others that were not elaborated in the original report.  I will here elaborate on the four above-mentioned violations.

1.  Excessive noise levels: The human eardrum is a delicate structure which, if damaged severely enough, can lose its ability to enable a person to hear.  Prolonged exposure to loud, harsh, abrupt, or sudden noises should be minimized by the use of standard protective headphones or earplugs.   

2.  Fall and Electrical Hazards:  Ships can be quite tall and pose an increased risk of slips and falls.  Therefore, adequate decking, handrails, and rigging needs to be used to minimize or prevent injury.  And because the equipment needed to work in and around the shipyard is powered by electricity, there are increased risks of shock or electrocution.  Wiring should be checked periodically for wear and tear and replaced as needed.

3.  Exposure to airborne contaminants:  There are many different kinds of chemicals that are used to make or maintain ships.  Many of them are sprayed on and emit tiny particles that can be inhaled, thus causing harm to a person's respiratory tract.  Face masks should be worn for protection.

4.  Combined Space Entry Hazards:  In small spaces, there is an increased risk of suffocation due to the lack of oxygen and the presence of harmful gases such as carbon dioxide.  Therefore, adequate ventilation needs to be provided to minimize the risk of exposure.  There also needs to be more than one way to escape should the need arise.