Recent Changes in Maritime Safety Policies & OSHA Jurisdiction
According to OSHA documents, there are some significant changes that have taken place in recent years regarding maritime safety. OSHA had to change some of their policies when the United States Supreme Court ruled on Chao v. Mallard Bay Drilling, Inc. As well, OSHA altered some of their policies after the enforcement of the OSH Act. Now, there are rules that apply to towing vessels. Part of the new changes demand that all towing vessels are inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard.
In addition to this, OSHA has created new guidelines regarding enforcement on permanently moored craft. This is watercrafts that are used for gaming and gambling, or those that are used for entertainment purposes and will not be set off into the water at any time in the future. You can read more about this document and about how it effects your position as a maritime worker or offshore worker by clicking here.
OSHA is a federal agency that has the task of protecting individuals from maritime injury while on the job. OSHA oversees many ships, platforms, vessels, and more in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard. The new documents even further detail the responsibilities of the U.S. Coast Guard in connection with OSHA and how the two work together to achieve a cumulative end goal. The OSHA geographic limits are outlined in the OSH Act, and apply to any employment that is performed within the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rice, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Wake Island, Johnston Island, the northern Mariana Islands, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands.
Also, OSHA rules apply in all U.S. waters. Normally, the state territorial lines extend three miles off of the coastline. In the Gulf Coast of Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas the territorial seas extend for nine miles. OSHA also overseas safety on all oil and gas rigs in State territorial seas and U.S. navigable waters. In addition, OSHA rules apply at shipyards or on vessels in graving docks and marine railways or ship lifts. As well, mines with pier and dock facilities, and deferral property in a State Plan State adjacent to U.S. navigable waters are all supposed to submit to OSHA guidelines.