Lessons Learnt: Fall in cargo hold

Date: 11/10/2017
Source: Loss Prevention
Lessons Learnt: Fall in cargo hold

Vessel Type: Bulk Carrier

Incident description

The crew were instructed to clean the vessel’s cargo holds in preparation for the next cargo. The vessel was underway with sea conditions recorded as slight with no ship movement. In order to gain better access to the upper areas of the hold, the crew arranged to position the high pressure washing equipment on top of portable staging erected on the tank top. The staging was approximately 6 metres in height and lashed to the ship’s structure to keep it stable. In addition, a safety line was rigged across the hold to which the seaman on top of the staging could attach a safety harness. When it was required to re-position the staging, the crew released the lashings and pushed the apparatus across the tank top. During this movement, the seaman on top of the staging lost his balance and fell down on to the tank top, sustaining serious injuries. The vessel deviated to enable helicopter evacuation of the casualty.

Analysis

It is apparent that the seaman on top of the staging disconnected his safety harness from the lifeline at some time before the incident. Work aloft in any circumstances requires careful planning and implementation of appropriate safety precautions. When a ship is at sea, the necessity of performing such work should be very carefully considered, particularly taking into account the possibility of unexpected ship motion and the limitations of available equipment. In the case of hold cleaning, the crew are not expected to take unreasonable risks in complying with a commercial requirement of presenting clean holds in readiness to load the next cargo. 

Lessons Learnt

  • The necessity of crew performing work aloft at sea should always be carefully appraised and subject to a risk assessment
  • When hold cleaning, crew safety takes full priority over operational requirements
  • During work aloft, the safety harness should remain attached to a lifeline and strongpoint at all times
  • Work aloft must always be properly supervised and subject to a Permit to Work
  • If crew of any rank have safety concerns when carrying out a task, stop the job and re-assess the situation

Emergency Contacts


If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder


This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.