545 - 09/07 - Crewmember severely burned by steam - Worldwide


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has published an investigation report into an incident where a crewmember suffered serious burns. The report identifies issues that are likely to be common to many ships and it is recommended that lessons be learned by reading the full report.

The incident occurred in an environment where deck crew and engineering crew were working independently of each other and without knowledge of the other party's work schedule for the day. If both departments had discussed together their planned work schedule then the accident may have been foreseen and prevented.

This accident also highlights the need for risk assessments to be conducted at the work site in order to take into consideration hazards that may not have been of concern, or overlooked, in a risk assessment performed for previous routine work.

The incident

The ships boatswain and an ordinary seaman spent all morning painting the main engine exhaust pipes. The ordinary seaman was severely burned by steam which unexpectedly exhausted from the nearby boiler safety valve vent pipe.

The steam was released during a scheduled boiler survey when the surveyor asked for the operation of the safety valves to be tested - when the boiler pressure reached 11 bar the safety valves operated.

Source of information:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)



Staff Author