Real Life Accident: Seaman Falls In Cargo Hold While Greasing

The vessel was in port undergoing cargo operations. The stevedores stopped work for a shift change, and in the quiet period between the two shifts, one of the ship’s seamen decided to grease the hatch landing pads around the open cargo hold (Figure 1).

The chief mate and the bosun were apparently not advised of the work and permission had not been obtained.As the new shift of stevedores began to make their way into the cargo hold, the seaman was seen moving around the hatch coaming greasing the hatch lid landing pads. Suddenly, he slipped and fell, landing about 8.5 metres below on top of a container in the cargo hold (Figure 2).

The seaman was admitted to the local hospital and provided with medical attention, being discharged and repatriated home afterward.According to the ship’s crew, the greasing was normally carried out using an extended handle roller, allowing the work to be performed from the walkway. In this way, the crew are not exposed to the risk of falling from the hatch coamings.

Of interest in this accident

The seaman decided on the spur of the moment to grease the hatch pads. Choosing to grease the hatch landing pads during the period between stevedore shifts indicates that he may have identified the hazard of containers moving past his position.While he was showing initiative, the task was not appropriately planned, and he had not identified and mitigated the associated risks. Furthermore, the fall hazard was magnified by the application of grease to areas of the hatch coaming that he would be walking over.

slipery slope

Good communication requires a flow of information in both directions of the management structure. This is particularly important on board a ship where a number of independent work groups can be engaged in multiple tasks.

Safety message

This incident highlights the fact that people undertaking seemingly simple tasks with the best of intentions often overlook the planning and risk assessment stages. This is particularly the case when the task is undertaken when an unexpected and opportune moment arises to complete the task.

Reference : nautinst

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