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Total recordable illness and injury incident rates have dropped dramatically at U.S. shipyards over the last 10 years


Shipyards are embracing a safety culture

By Ian Bennitt, Manager, Government Affairs, Shipbuilders Council of America


or the past 15 years, total recordable injury and illness incident rates (TRIR) in the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry have been on the decline. In fact rates in the past 10 years have dropped by over 60%, marking a dramatic increase in worker safety. The key to this decline has been an industry-wide shift to embrace a culture of safety, as well as large investments in safety management and processes. The goal of every shipyard is to send their employees home safely, day in and day out. Safety resources are available to shipyards more readily now than ever before. The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), the national trade association for U.S. shipbuilders and repairers, maintains an active safety and health committee that serves as a forum for sharing best practices, information and developing safety compliance and awareness tools and training products. Initiated in 2003, the SCA’s National Alliance with OSHA targets high hazard areas and develops safety resources to address them. It also maintains an open and constructive dialogue between OSHA and industry. So too does the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH). MACOSH is OSHA’s federal advisory committee for the maritime industry comprised of management, labor, safety and health professional organizations, government organizations and the public. The group has a designated shipbuilding subcommittee that

exists to develop safety resources and recommendations for OSHA to increase safety. While the industry has been proactive and engaged in addressing safety awareness and increasing safety performance, it also has to be mindful of regulatory compliance, emerging rules and regulations, and OSHA enforcement priorities. In May 2011, OSHA promulgated a major revision to its shipyard general working conditions standard. This new standard was the most impactful rulemaking affecting the industry in agency history. Initiated in 1982, the rule clarified, added to, and consolidated 13 sections of 29 CFR 1915, including sanitation, lighting, medical devices, motor vehicle safety, and housekeeping among others. The largest change added Lockout/ Tagout, or control of hazardous energy, requirements to shipyard employment (29 CFR 1915). As President Barack Obama settles into his second term, it is also important to consider the Department of Labor and OSHA priorities for the next four years. The President announced in mid-March that Tom Perez, currently Civil Rights Division Chief at the Department of Justice, was his choice to replace outgoing Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. During confirmation hearings in April, Perez noted his agenda would be heavy on training and workforce development. He also made clear he would focus on and continue the department’s June 2013 MARINE LOG 23

June 2013 Marine Log Magazine  
June 2013 Marine Log Magazine