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Worker falls into open deck hatch

  • What happened?

    A crew transfer vessel (CTV) was on standby while a two-man crew were doing maintenance in the starboard hull. The forward and aft hatches were open.

    The crew finished maintenance and mobilised for the personnel transfer.

    The aft hatch was closed, whilst the forward hatch was left open.

    The personnel were transferred aboard.

    A deckhand was receiving the cargo transfer of luggage when he stepped backwards into the open hatch with one foot.

    To save himself from falling into the void space, he used his right arm to hold onto the decking.

    He dislocated and fractured his right shoulder.

    What happened - icon
  • Why did it happen?

    The deckhand stepped backwards as he was not aware of the open hatch.

    Miscommunication between the two crew members caused only the aft hatch to be closed.

    Handheld radios were used for communication outside the wheelhouse. Reception was lost inside the hull.

    No barriers around the hatch.

    No proper markings or distinct colour on the inside of the hatch, making it difficult to distinguish when opened. The outside of the hatch was marked yellow and was clearly distinguishable from the deck when closed.

    Risk assessments for the task were not adequate.

    Checks were not being executed at all times (pre and post-sailing).

    The crew felt pressure to finalise their work, unmoor and mobilise quickly.

    Open hatch without barriers or marking
  • What did they learn?

    Risk assessments should include all relevant preventive measures including:

    • responsibilities for lifting
    • deck checks prior to lifting operations
    • clear means of communication in all vessel areas (including radio communications in engine room).

    Provide distinct colour marking on the inside and outside of the hatches to make them easily distinguishable when open or closed.

    During 24hr operations, time for maintenance and pre and post sailings checks should be scheduled in.

    • The checks should be executed at least prior to sailing away after mooring or maintenance activities.

    Ensure that workers do not feel under time pressure to complete their work.

    Ensure workers are confident to use ‘stop work authority’.

    What learn - icon
  • Ask yourself or your crew

    Has a hatch ever been mistakenly left open on your vessel? What happened?

    How do you ensure your vessel is safe for personnel transfer?

    Are maintenance time and pre and post sailings checks  scheduled into your shift rota? What should you do if not?

    Have you ever felt under time pressure to carry out your work? Why was that?

    Ask your crew - icon
Published on 30/09/20 359 Views 1 likes

During personnel transfer operations on an offshore crew transfer vessel (CTV), a deckhand stepped backwards into an open hatch and fell, fracturing his right shoulder.

Courtesy of IMCA