Shipyard workers in Minnesota may face serious dangers due to the spray painting of vessels during construction or maintenance. A new fact sheet released by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) aims to protect shipyard workers from these hazards.

There are a number of different types of dangers posed by spray painting at shipyards, including explosions or fires from flammable coatings and paints. Spray painting work can take place in confined spaces, and smoke inhalation as well as direct workplace injuries and burns as a result of fire or explosion can pose a real risk to workers engaged in these activities.

In addition, the chemicals used in spray painting ships and other vessels can pose a danger to shipyard workers. Workers are at risk of exposure to hazardous substances dissipated throughout the air as small particles. Improper ventilation in spray painting spaces at shipyards can threaten serious illness or even death.

Employers and shipyards have a responsibility to protect workers engaged in spray painting and other hazardous activities on the job. This responsibility includes evaluating risks and providing proper protections for endangered workers, including ensuring the use of proper protective equipment. When relevant, shipyard employers also must make sure that full chemical labels and Safety Data Sheets are available to workers facing exposure on the job. They also must provide training on the dangers of these substances and the measures that workers must take in order to protect themselves from hazardous particles.

When a shipyard or other worker is injured on the job, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ injuries, including sudden injuries from fires or explosions or the long-term effects of toxic exposure, can often be eligible for compensation. A workers’ compensation attorney can provide advice and guidance to injured workers about potential compensation for workplace injuries on the job.