Ergonomic Guidelines for Shipyards

Ergonomics Guidelines for Shipyards helps reduce shipyard related MSDs which results in a safer work environment with improved productivityErgonomic Guidelines for Shipyards (OSHA)

Download Booklet PDF  • Welcome to our blog article Ergonomic Guidelines for Shipyards where we delve briefly into the intricacies of shipyard work environments. Shipyards are dynamic workplaces that handle a wide range of vessels, including tankers, cargo carriers, fishing vessels, military ships, and barges. These versatile facilities undertake various tasks such as new ship construction, repair, maintenance, and shipbreaking (demolition). Shipyard work involves a multitude of activities, such as fabricating and forming large steel plates, beams, and pipes, as well as conducting painting and coating operations. Additionally, there are outfitting activities like electrical work, sheet metal work, and propulsion system maintenance. Welding is also commonplace, necessitating grinding and chipping of welds.

It’s important to note that most shipyard employees work outdoors, enduring challenging conditions like extreme temperatures. The scale of shipyards can vary, with smaller ones employing fewer than one hundred individuals and larger ones boasting 5,000 employees or more. Shipyard work is divided into three categories: shop work, yard work, and ship work. Fabrication generally commences in a shop separate from the vessel, mirroring certain manufacturing or maintenance activities. However, final assembly takes place on the vessel itself, within varying and unique environments. While some repair and maintenance work can be done off the vessel, the majority must be carried out onboard.

Work-Related MSDs of Shipyard Employees

Shipyard employees may experience early indicators of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as numbness, tingling, pain, restricted joint movement, or soft tissue swelling. Research has revealed that shipyard employees frequently report persistent or recurring shoulder pain, often associated with rotator cuff tendonitis. Lower extremity MSDs, strains, sprains of the low back muscles, and related disorders are also prevalent amongst shipyard workers. Moreover, individuals who utilize vibrating tools often exhibit symptoms of hand-arm vibration syndrome, colloquially known as “vibration white finger.”

Certain MSDs can develop gradually over time due to intensive work. When employees are required to assume awkward or static body postures for prolonged periods, they may be at risk of developing MSDs. Additionally, physical demands outside the workplace can contribute to or cause MSDs. Genetic factors, gender, age, and other elements may also play a role in the development of MSDs. Significantly, reports of MSDs have been linked to certain psychosocial factors such as job dissatisfaction, monotony, and limited job control. It’s important to note that the guidelines primarily address physical risk factors within the workplace.

Ergonomic Risk Factors

Ergonomics-related risk factors prevalent among shipyard employees include force, repetition, awkward and prolonged static body postures, contact stress, vibration, and cold temperatures combined with the aforementioned risk factors. The presence of these risk factors in a job increases the likelihood of injury. However, it’s crucial to understand that the existence of these risk factors does not automatically mean that employees will develop MSDs.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has visited shipyards that have implemented ergonomic solutions, yielding significant success in reducing work-related MSDs. Creating a safer and more comfortable work environment has also resulted in additional benefits, such as decreased absenteeism, increased efficiency and productivity, decreased fatigue, and improved employee morale.

Thank you for joining us on this informative journey into shipyard work environments. Stay tuned for more insights and tips!

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Ergonomics for Construction Workers

Ergonomics for Construction Workers  |  Early Intervention Ergonomics

Simple Solutions • Ergonomics for Construction Workers

Welcome to the NIOSH comprehensive guide, Ergonomics for Construction Workers, tailored for construction workers, unions, supervisors, contractors, safety specialists, and human resources managers – essentially, anyone invested in fostering safer construction sites. In the demanding world of construction, some of the most prevalent injuries stem from tasks that push the human body to its limits. Workers frequently find themselves lifting, stooping, kneeling, twisting, gripping, stretching, reaching overhead, or contorting into awkward positions, putting them at risk of developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). These disorders encompass a range of issues, including back problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, rotator cuff tears, as well as sprains and strains.

The mission is to offer practical, cost-effective solutions that can significantly reduce the likelihood of these injuries. We understand the unique challenges faced by construction professionals, and we are committed to making construction tasks more manageable, comfortable, and better aligned with the human body’s capabilities.

Did You Know…?

The construction industry ranks among the most hazardous sectors in the United States.

  • In 1999, the number of back injuries in U.S. construction was 50% higher than the average across all industries (CPWR, 2002).
  • A study (Cook et al, 1996) revealed that construction workers frequently report backaches, shoulder pain, neck discomfort, and hand-related issues.
  • Material handling incidents alone account for 32% of workers’ compensation claims in construction, representing 25% of the overall cost of these claims. The average cost per claim is a staggering $9,240 (CNA, 2000).
  • Musculoskeletal injuries can result in temporary or permanent disabilities, impacting both the worker’s income and the contractor’s profitability.

Things to Remember • Ergonomics for Construction Workers

Within this booklet, you’ll discover practical “Tip Sheets” illustrating how different tools and equipment can mitigate the risk of injury.  Construction sites have tried and tested these solutions. The construction industry’s diversity means that not all solutions will universally apply, but often, one trade can adapt ideas developed for others.

Please note that the information provided herein offers general guidance on how some construction contractors have effectively minimized workers’ exposure to musculoskeletal disorder risk factors. It’s crucial to recognize that the examples cited may not be suitable for all types of construction work. Furthermore, while utilizing the tools and equipment outlined in this booklet can certainly reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, it does not guarantee their prevention. The information shared here does not introduce new obligations or establish specific standards or guidelines.

The overarching aim of Ergonomics for Construction Workers is to present solutions that are not only effective but also cost-efficient. While some remedies may exceed a $1,000 budget, potentially posing challenges for certain contractors, we firmly believe that successful implementation will lead to a rapid return on investment in many cases.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Always consult with an ergonomics expert before making significant changes to your workspace setup.

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Trench Safety Stand Down Week (June 20-24, 2022)

Trench Safety Stand Down Week Resources:

Visit the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) website for information and resources: Trench Safety Resources.  During Trench Safety Stand Down Week, United Rentals will be generously hosting a series of webinars covering a range or important trench safety topics.  NUCA highly endorses these events and encourages members to check them out via the link:  United Rentals/NUCA TSSD Week Webinar Series.

Additional TSSD Resources

 Trenching and Excavation – Overview | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (

  • Excavations in Construction: Soil Classification. OSHA Prevention Video (vTools). Also available in Spanish. This OSHA video shows one of the steps, classifying soil, that employers must follow so that trenching work can be done safely. This video is not intended to be a complete educational tool, instead it is meant as an introduction for people who want to know more. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace and required protective equipment. You’ll learn how having the right information about a construction site can help save lives.
  • Excavations in Construction: Trenching. OSHA Prevention Video (vTools). Also available in Spanish. This OSHA video shows how quickly cave-ins lead to workers’ deaths. The video will also show what employers must do to assure that the work can be done more safely. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace and required protective equipment. You’ll see that using the right type of protection saves lives.
  • Trenching and Excavation Safety. OSHA Publication 2226, (2015). Highlights key elements of the standards and describes safe work practices that can protect workers from cave-ins and other hazards.
  • Trenching and Excavation Safety. OSHA Fact Sheet (Publication 3476), (2011). Also available in Spanish.
  • Working Safely in Trenches. OSHA QuickCard™ (Publication 3243), (2011). Also available in Spanish.

Best Practices Resources

  • Excavation and Trenching Best Practices for Operators. OSHA and the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) Alliance, (February 2008). Also available in Spanish. Addresses issues associated with excavation and trenching activities such as worksite preparation, personal protective equipment and collapse prevention.
  • Excavation and Trenching Best Practices for Supervisory Personnel. OSHA and the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) Alliance, (February 2008). Also available in Spanish. Addresses issues associated with supervision of workers who are engaged in excavation and trenching activities such as worksite preparation, personal protective equipment and collapse prevention.
  • Excavator Operation Best Practices for Supervisory Personnel, Operators, and Workers. OSHA and the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) Alliance, (February 2008). Addresses which issues associated with the operation of excavation equipment such as pre-and post-operation procedures, safe operation considerations, and supervisory recommendations.
  • Horizontal Directional Drilling Best Practices for Operators. OSHA and the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) Alliance, (February 2008). Also available in Spanish. Addresses issues associated with the operation of horizontal directional drilling equipment such as pre-and post-operation procedures and safe operation considerations.
  • Horizontal Directional Drilling Best Practices for Supervisory Personnel. OSHA and the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) Alliance, (February 2008). Also available in Spanish. Addresses issues associated with supervision of workers who are engaged in the operation of horizontal directional drilling equipment such as pre-and post-operation procedures and safe operation considerations.

Increasing Awareness of Factors that Influence Trench Safety

Moderator: Eileen Betit, CPWR’s Research to Practice (r2p) Director
Scott Ketcham, Director, OSHA Directorate of Construction
Joe Wise, Regional Customer Training Manager at United Rentals Trench Safety
Dr. Alan Echt, Sr. Industrial Hygienist, NIOSH Office of Construction Safety and Health
Thursday, May 28th, 2020 (Play RecordingDownload Presentation, or link to You Tube recording here).

Trench Safety Resource Files:

TSSD Poster Full Page UR 2022


OSHA3974 – 5 Things to know to be Safe


osha2226 – Excavation Safety

CPWR Trenches-Fact-Sheet



Outdoor & Indoor Heat-Related Hazards

Outdoor & Indoor Heat-Related Hazards

OSHA’s “Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards” aims to protect workers from the dangers of heat illness. With rising temperatures posing significant risks, this program focuses on promoting safe working conditions. By addressing both outdoor and indoor heat-related hazards, OSHA aims to prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other heat-related illnesses. The NEP emphasizes the need for implementation of effective heat illness prevention programs. In addition these programs provide training to workers, and establish protocols for responding to heat-related emergencies. By following OSHA guidelines, employers can ensure the well-being and safety of their employees in environments affected by outdoor and indoor heat-related hazards.

Details of the National Emphasis Program

OSHA: National Emphasis Program – Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a National Emphasis Program to protect millions of workers from heat illness and injuries.  As part of the program, OSHA will proactively initiate inspections in over 70 high-risk industries in indoor and outdoor work settings when the National Weather Service has issued a heat warning or advisory for a local area. On days when the heat index is 80oF or higher, OSHA inspectors and compliance assistance specialists will engage in proactive outreach and technical assistance to help stakeholders keep workers safe on the job. Inspectors will look for and address heat hazards during inspections, regardless of whether the industry is targeted in the NEP.

Employers can ensure the well-being and safety of their employees in environments affected by outdoor and indoor heat-related hazards.

Outreach to Unions & Employers

OSHA’s area offices will engage in outreach to unions, employers in target industries and other organizations committed to advancing protections for underserved workers. The agency’s On-Site Consultation Program, a free and confidential health and safety consulting program for small- and medium-sized businesses, will assist employers in developing strategic approaches for addressing heat-related illnesses and injuries in workplaces.

In addition, the agency will hold a public stakeholder meeting on May 3, 2022, to discuss OSHA’s ongoing activities to protect workers from heat-related hazards, including the Heat Illness Prevention Campaign, compliance assistance activities and enforcement efforts. You can register for the event here.

For more information, see the Press Release and OSHA’s webpage on working in outdoor and indoor heat environments. Please share this information with your stakeholders, as appropriate.

Healthy Employees ARE the Bottom Line! – Learn More!

Fatal Four Hazard Prevention

Fatal Four Hazard Prevention  |  Early Intervention Ergonomics

Fatal four hazard prevention focuses on raising awareness in the recognition, evaluation, and control of these hazards.

Focus Four Toolbox Talks (OSHA Campaign)

Safety is paramount in the construction industry, where workers face numerous risks on a daily basis. To combat the most common and preventable causes of construction fatalities, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched its annual Focus Four Campaign in 2022. This comprehensive initiative aims to raise awareness and implement proactive measures for Fatal Four Hazard Prevention in construction. In this article, we’ll delve into the Fatal Four, OSHA’s Focus Four Campaign, and the vital steps taken to protect construction workers.

1. Understanding the Fatal Four Hazards

The Fatal Four hazards are responsible for a significant number of construction worker fatalities each year. These hazards include falls, electrocutions, struck-by incidents, and caught-in/between accidents. According to OSHA, these four categories account for more than 60% of all construction worker deaths. The staggering toll underscores the critical importance of addressing these risks head-on.

2. The Focus Four Campaign

Launched annually by OSHA, the Focus Four Campaign is a year-long endeavor designed to reduce fatalities in the construction industry. The campaign focuses on raising awareness, providing resources, and enhancing compliance through targeted training and outreach efforts. By equipping employers and workers with the knowledge and tools they need, OSHA strives to prevent needless tragedies.

3. Fall Prevention – Protecting Workers at Heights

Falls remain the leading cause of construction fatalities, making fall prevention a core component of OSHA’s campaign. The agency stresses the implementation of proper fall protection systems, such as guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). Regular safety inspections, employee training, and clear signage play pivotal roles in keeping workers safe while working at heights.

4. Electrocution Prevention – Staying Clear of Electrical Hazards

Electrocutions are the second leading cause of construction-related deaths. To combat this hazard, OSHA advocates for stringent electrical safety standards. This includes using Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs), proper lockout/tagout procedures, and regular equipment maintenance. Workers should also be trained to identify and avoid electrical hazards, promoting a culture of safety on construction sites.

5. Struck-By Incidents – Minimizing Contact with Objects

Struck-by incidents, such as being hit by falling debris or vehicles, account for a significant number of construction fatalities. OSHA encourages the use of proper protective equipment, such as hard hats and high-visibility clothing. Additionally, the implementation of traffic control measures, clear communication protocols, and diligent inspection of equipment can significantly reduce the risk of struck-by accidents.

6. Caught-In/Between Hazards – Ensuring Proper Safety Measures

Caught-in/between hazards occur when a worker is trapped between two objects or caught in machinery. To address this hazard, OSHA emphasizes the importance of machine guarding, trench safety, and proper use of heavy equipment. Employers should provide comprehensive training and strictly enforce safety guidelines to mitigate caught-in/between incidents.

7. Training and Education

OSHA’s Focus Four Campaign places a strong emphasis on education and training. By offering resources, webinars, and on-site consultation programs, OSHA helps employers and workers better understand the Fatal Four hazards and implement effective preventive measures. Properly trained workers are more likely to recognize potential dangers and respond appropriately, reducing the likelihood of accidents.

Things to Remember

The construction industry is vital to our society’s growth, but it comes with inherent risks that must be addressed. OSHA’s 2022 Focus Four Campaign has taken a proactive stance in preventing the Fatal Four hazards, significantly reducing construction-related fatalities. By focusing on fall prevention, electrocution protection, struck-by incident minimization, and caught-in/between hazard mitigation, OSHA’s campaign has fostered a culture of safety within the industry.

Construction employers and workers must remain committed to adhering to safety protocols, leveraging OSHA’s resources, and investing in comprehensive training. Together, we can continue to make the construction sites safer places, ensuring that every worker returns home safely at the end of each day. Let’s build not only our structures but also a safer future for all involved in the construction industry.

Fatal Four Hazard Prevention Tools & Resources: (English & Spanish) (varied topics)

Other attachments include

Struck By (changing bales): Fatal Facts (OSHA 3616 – 2012) (English: PDF)

Work Zone Traffic Safety Fact Sheet (2005) (English: PDF)

Work Zone Traffic Safety QuickCard™ (English: PDF) & (Spanish: PDF)

Download links for Focus Four Toolbox Talks:















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Preventing Injuries in Poultry Processing

Things to Remember

Musculoskeletal injuries are a significant concern in the poultry processing industry, where workers engage in repetitive tasks and often work in awkward positions. These injuries can lead to chronic pain, reduced productivity, and increased healthcare costs. To ensure a safe working environment and promote the well-being of employees, it is crucial to implement preventive measures. In this article, we will explore effective strategies and best practices to preventing injuries in poultry processing facilities.

1. Ergonomic Workstations and Equipment:

One of the primary contributors to musculoskeletal injuries is poor workstation design. Employers must invest in ergonomically designed workstations and equipment to minimize strain on workers’ bodies. Adjustable work surfaces, height-adjustable chairs, and appropriate lighting are essential elements in creating ergonomic workstations. Additionally, using mechanized tools and equipment for tasks such as lifting, cutting, and deboning can significantly reduce the risk of injuries.

2. Training and Education:

Proper training and education play a crucial role in preventing musculoskeletal injuries. Employees should receive comprehensive training on ergonomic techniques, safe work practices, and the proper use of equipment. Regular refresher courses can help reinforce these practices and keep workers updated on the latest safety guidelines. Training programs should also include information on identifying early signs of musculoskeletal discomfort and the importance of reporting symptoms promptly.

3. Job Rotation and Breaks:

Repetitive motions and prolonged periods of static posture can lead to muscle fatigue and increased injury risk. Implementing job rotation and scheduled breaks can help reduce the strain on specific muscle groups and provide opportunities for recovery. By alternating tasks or allowing employees to switch between workstations periodically, workers can avoid overexertion and minimize the risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries.

4. Stretching and Warm-Up Exercises:

Encouraging employees to perform stretching and warm-up exercises before starting their shifts can significantly improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and prevent injuries. Simple exercises, such as neck rotations, shoulder stretches, and wrist flexion/extension, can help warm up the muscles and joints. Employers can conduct regular group stretching sessions or provide educational materials on recommended exercises to foster a culture of proactive injury prevention.

5. Adequate Staffing and Workload Management:

Understaffing and excessive workloads can contribute to hurried work and improper lifting techniques, increasing the likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries. Employers must ensure adequate staffing levels to manage workloads effectively. Regular reviews of workload distribution and the provision of additional resources during peak periods are essential to maintaining a manageable and safe work environment.

6. Continuous Improvement and Feedback:

Creating a culture of continuous improvement and open communication is vital for preventing musculoskeletal injuries. Employers should actively seek feedback from workers regarding potential hazards, discomfort, and suggestions for improvement. Regular safety audits and ergonomic assessments can help identify areas that require attention. This, in turn, allows for timely modifications to workstations, equipment, or procedures.


Preventing musculoskeletal injuries in poultry processing requires a comprehensive approach that addresses ergonomic design, training, job rotation, breaks, stretching exercises, adequate staffing, and continuous improvement. By implementing these strategies, employers can create a safer work environment, reduce the risk of injuries, and promote the well-being of their workforce. Investing in injury prevention not only protects the employees but also contributes to enhanced productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and a positive workplace culture. By prioritizing the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries, the poultry processing industry can pave the way for healthier and more sustainable operations.

Contact us today and let us help you to improve your employee’s health and reduce work-related injuries.

Related article:

Ergonomic Solutions for Retailers (NIOSH)
  • Material handling injuries can have a significant impact on the productivity and well-being of workers in the retail sector. With the physical demands of lifting, carrying, and moving heavy items, it is crucial to implement effective injury prevention measures. This article aims to provide ergonomic solutions for retailers on preventing material handling injuries, highlighting key strategies and best practices.
  • Before diving into ergonomic solutions for retailers, it’s essential to understand the common risks associated with material handling in retail stores. These risks include musculoskeletal disorders, strains, sprains, slips, trips, and falls. By recognizing these hazards, employers can take proactive steps to address them effectively.
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