OSHA announced in the Dec. 20Federal Registerit is accepting public comments on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment. The proposed rule is aimed at reducing hazards and providing greater protection for shipyard employees.

The agency will be accepting public comments on the proposed rule until March 19, 2008.

Working in shipyards is one of the most hazardous occupations in the nation, said OSHA chief Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.

The proposal updates and clarifies provisions in the shipyard employment standards (29 CFR Part 1915 subpart F) that have largely gone unchanged since OSHA adopted them in 1972. OSHA proposes to revise and update existing provisions and to add new provisions, including the control of hazardous energy and motor vehicle safety.

Proposed updates include establishing minimum lighting for certain worksites, accounting for employees at the end of work-shifts if they work in confined spaces or alone in isolated spaces, and adding uniform criteria to ensure shipyards have an adequate number of appropriately trained first-aid providers. The proposal also updates sanitation requirements.

Interested parties may submit comments electronically athttp://www.regulations.gov/, the Federal eRulemaking Portal.