Ensuring Workplace Safety at a Shipyard Explained [7 Simple Yet Effective Precautions]

By Albert Howard

A shipyard, also known as a dockyard, is where ships are built and repaired. Shipyards are not the safest place to work, to be honest. There are countless potential hazards at a shipyard ranging from physical and ergonomic to even mental. So it is crucial to know all the possible dangers of shipyards and how to prevent them.

The good news is that there are certain simple yet effective ways to ensure workplace safety at a shipyard. But first, let’s take a look at why securing shipyards can often become such a big challenge. 

Potentially Fatal Sources of Hazards at a Shipyard

Here are some instances:

  • Uncomfortable Working Conditions

Shipyards are marine construction sites. And arguably one of the most uncomfortable places to work at. Far removed from luxurious offices, the entire area is usually cramped and has very limited space. 

While this may not sound serious, we should pay more attention. Uncomfortable working conditions often result in fatigue, leading to long-term health problems.

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  • Exposure to Hazardous Substances

Working at a shipyard often means working with hazardous and toxic substances and chemicals. These substances include asbestos, fumes from welding, smoke, etc. 

Long-term exposure to asbestos results in Mesothelioma, a type of cancer with no cure. It is a fatal disease that results in death. Even though treatment can delay it, it remains incurable to this day.

  • Physical Hazards

Physical hazards are present in all workplaces, and the shipyard is no exception. Shipyard employees are constantly prone to accidents and injuries. This includes slips and falls. 

While this may sound common and insignificant, the severity and seriousness of these slips and falls are much more in shipyards.

  • Machinery Hazards

Machinery used in shipyards is potentially very dangerous. Any mistake in using those machineries can prove fatal and, in most cases, may lead to injuries. 

Injuries due to machinery may happen due to malfunctioning the equipment and misuse of heavy machinery. So proper training and knowledge are crucial for every worker and should be mandatory.

  • Fires, Explosions, and Electrical Hazards 

Shipyard workers are always working with fire and electricity. If anything goes wrong, it can be fatal. There are always chances of fires, explosions, and short circuits when people are working with gas canisters and electricity all around. 

Damages from fire and accidents should always be acknowledged, and fire extinguishers and preventive measures should be made available at vital workplace locations.

Preventive Measures to Reduce Shipyard Accidents

The following precautionary measures must be mandated to minimize and eliminate accidents and mishaps:

  • Training

All employees working in shipyards must receive and go through extensive training and workshops on safety and using equipment and machinery. This will reduce the chances of mishandling heavy machinery and ensure everyone knows how to perform their jobs properly and safely.

  • PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment and must be provided to all employees working in shipyards. PPE includes hard hats, hazmat suits, heatproof gloves, reinforced boots, protective eyewear, etc. 

If PPE is provided to employees, it will provide them protection in case of accidents that otherwise cause them injury.

  • Licenses

Individuals using and working with heavy and potentially dangerous machinery must be required to have a license to operate those types of machinery. 

Using and operating heavy and dangerous machinery is no easy task and shouldn’t be done by anyone without proper qualifications and training. 

Having a license to operate such machinery means that that individual is capable of using said machinery, aware of the risks, and has undergone testing and training. 

  • Regularly Cleaning the Workplace

Having a clean workplace doesn’t only mean having a clean environment. It also means decluttering and organizing the workplace. It ensures not only efficiency but also safety. 

Often misplaced things can lead to potentially fatal accidents, especially so at such a volatile site as a shipyard. 

  • Putting Up Warning Signs and Labels

It is almost self-explanatory, as everyone should know the importance of having warning signs set up and proper labeling. Especially in the potentially dangerous work environment, labels and warning signs can save lives and prevent fatal injuries. 

Warning signs should be placed in spots where people tend to look most frequently. This will be most effective. Not just warnings and danger signs, instructions and what to do in case of accidents should also be made and placed all over the workplace.

  • First Aid Kits

Accident-prone workplaces should always have first aid kits at convenient places for immediate use. Often emergency responders at 911 may not be able to arrive in time. 

So having a first aid kit could be vital in saving a person’s life and easing their pain until professional help arrives.

  • Regular Maintenance of Equipment and Machinery

All equipment and tool must go through regular maintenance and inspection. This will not only improve efficiency but also drastically reduce the chances of malfunctioning and accidents caused by the machinery,

Final Words

It is always better to be safe than sorry, and the workplace is no exception to this rule. Because of the unpredictability of accidents and their damages, it is always wise to have and maintain precautions, especially in a volatile workplace such as a shipyard or dockyard. 

So follow the advice given in this article and ensure workplace safety at shipyards. 

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