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OSHA Maritime Safety Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has an obligation to ensure employees work in a safe environment. Although working on a vessel is a hazardous job because of the equipment used and extreme weather conditions, there are maritime safety regulations in place by which employers must abide. Violations can lead to costly fines.

Common OSHA Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

There are regulations that apply to every aspect of a maritime worker’s duties. The maritime safety regulations vary depending on the type of work the employee performs. For example, the regulations for a shipyard worker are different from those of a longshore worker.

Regulations for longshoring include:

  • certification of gear and working surfaces;
  • how hatches should be opened and closed;
  • access to water (for drinking and for use of sinks, toilets); and
  • access to soap and towels for hygiene purposes.


Those who work in shipyards are also bound to certain OSHA regulations:

  • use of personal protective equipment while welding, cutting materials or performing other dangerous tasks;
  • adequate ventilation while working with materials;
  • safety of working surfaces, ladders and other equipment; and
  • access to cargo spaces.


Marine terminal workers must also abide by these regulations, as well as the following:

  • loading and unloading of cargo;
  • facility safety; and
  • proper use of ladders, elevators, lifts and platforms.


Other regulations that certain maritime workers may be required to follow, depending on their job title and duties, include:

  • logging service operations;
  • lockout/tagout duties;
  • accident investigations;
  • use of portable lights;
  • protecting pedestrians when driving a motor vehicle; and
  • other performance-based requirements.


New Occupational Health and Safety Regulations

A new standard addresses common causes of maritime worker injury and death, such as electrocution, motor vehicle safety, and slips, trips and falls. According to OSHA, this new standard is expected to prevent 184 injuries and 1 deaths per year.

This standard requires the following:

  • system to account for employees working by themselves;
  • training for first aid providers;
  • training for those who use automatic external defibrillators;
  • seat belt use for those riding or driving motor vehicles; and
  • energy control to prevent shock.


Employer Responsibilities

When an employer fails to follow OSHA regulations, it is considered negligence. If the employee reports an unsafe working environment, he or she has the right to notify OSHA and request an investigation. The results of the investigation can lead to costly fines if the employer is found in violation of any maritime safety regulations. If an employer’s negligence causes injuries to an employee, the employer may be required to compensate the employee for medical bills and other expenses caused by the injury.

Contacting a Maritime Lawyer in Louisiana

OSHA occupational health and safety regulations were created to keep workers safe. When maritime workers face unsafe working conditions, their best bet is to preserve their legal rights by contacting a maritime lawyer from The Young Firm in Louisiana for legal help. We can help victims report violations and recover compensation for any injuries suffered. Contact us today at 504-680-4100 and request our free publication, The Guide to Maritime Injury Law.

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