From asbestos exposure to the risk of slips and falls on wet or oily surfaces, these are just some ways that shipyard workers can be exposed to deadly illnesses or get injured. Something else that can put them at risk of getting hurt or sick is the use of spray paint in constructing or maintaining water vessels.
One of the reasons that spray paint is so hazardous to shipyard workers is because they’re frequently used in confined spaces with poor ventilation. Each time that they engage the trigger on the aerosol cylinder, it releases a number of combustible and flammable vapors into the air. If there were some type of static charge or electric current in the same environment, then it could ignite a fire or cause an explosion to occur.
It doesn’t matter if a shipyard worker uses a paint roller, brush or an aerosol spray can, as each can put them at risk of breathing in hazardous vapors. While those working in shipyards can decrease their risk of exposure to these substances by using less-toxic paints, they generally aren’t the ones purchasing the materials that they use. They usually don’t dictate how and where that they use them either.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires shipyard employers to make sure that their workers know what types of risks that the products that they use pose. They’re supposed to make sure that all items used contain chemical labels and that they also have access to material safety data sheets (MSDS) for each of them.
Employers can greatly minimize their employees’ risk of injury or illness by providing them with personal protective equipment such as clothing, goggles, face shields, respirators and gloves. They can also do so by regularly testing the concentration of solvent vapors in the air to make sure that their lower explosive limit (LEL) is under 10 percent and by employing other engineering controls.
Many shipyard workers expect their employers to look out for their best interests, but few adhere to OSHA’s safety standards because they’re too focused on their bottom line. If you’ve been injured by working in dangerous conditions on a dock or pier, then a Gulf Breeze shipyard accident attorney may advise you that you’re entitled to compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Attorney John W. Merting of the Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A. has helped numerous people recover compensation for shipyard injuries.