Over the last couple of years there have been a number of incident, some minor but a few with potential critical consequences.
Many of the onboard dangers are often simple things that you would think that common sense would prevail but…where have you seen common sense lately?
Here’s a few to get you thinking…
A simple coil of rope on the deck doesn’t seem like a danger or does it? It could be a lazy line, grapple line, mooring line or for many other uses.
The simple fact is there have been a number of incidents with rope coiled on the deck including crew members being dragged overboard or being saved from going overboard.
If you have a foot or hand in the coil you are in a potentially dangerous situation and can end up going overboard as has happen in recent incidents.
As the rope pays out the coils can spin up and entangle your leg or arm and if you’re unaware you may well be going for a swim!
The simple solution: don’t stand in or put your arms in a coil of rope. Be aware of where your feet are when on deck, especially on fishing vessels.
Hatches also provide a great place for injuries. Hatches on brine tanks, ice boxes, engine rooms, anchor lockers and others can cause serious crushing injuries.
Leaving your hand on a hatch coaming is asking for trouble. The hatch only has to fall, and you can end up with a serious crushing injury.
The Simple solution: always ensure hatches are secured when in the open position and never leave your hand or other body parts on a hatch coaming.
Sea doors and weather steps
Sea doors and weather steps are another cause of injuries onboard. Sea door are heavy and can slam closed with boat movement if you’re not careful.
Weather steps are trip hazards and although you know they are there we have many incidents where people trip over them and sustain moderate to serious injuries.
While it may sound strange to include deck fittings here, they can be a major trip hazard and have been responsible for many incidents from minor to critical including people going overboard.
Maintain awareness when moving around on deck and make yourself familiar with all the fittings on your vessel.
Ladders and Steps
Moving up and down ladders and steps on a moving vessel, especially in rough weather can lead to serious injuries . It’s too easy to slip and/or fall when using steps of ladders onboard.
Ensure all steps and ladder have non-slip coatings to help prevent such accidents.
Entering and leaving a top bunk
This can be the cause of a number of injuries including minor to serious bruising, fractures, injuries, etc. so always take care when entering or leaving your bunk, especially if it’s a top or raised bunk.
This is only a short list to get you thinking about the dangers onboard your vessel. There are many more based on your operations, vessel configuration and other factors!
The key recommendation here is to ensure all crew members have been properly inducted to the vessel and have these and other potential danger areas identified.
Where edges or other danger areas have been identified the use of tiger tape is a good investment and the use of non-slip coatings to minimise the risk of slipping is a must.
If you’ve completed a detailed onboard hazard identification you should have identified all of the existing and potential hazards and associated risks.
These should be included in your Risk Register if it’s done properly so our best tip is to ensure all new crew are inducted into the SMS and they read the Risk Register to identify hazards onboard.