Confined space entry hazards will be the focus for 2010 for Maritime Accident Casebook, MAC,a web-based safety resource for seafarers, and those who train and those employ them. The website will bring together its educational audio and video podcasts, accident reports and safety alerts into a single practical resource covering a broad range of confine space situations.
The most conservative estimates put the number of seafarer deaths at two dozen year, two thirds of them being would-be rescuers. Representations have been made to the International Maritime Organisation to strengthen its recommendations for confined space entry procedures and training and new measure are expected to be approved in the coming year but MAC, which has forcefully covered confined space incidents since 2006, believes that companies, ships’ officers and individual seafarers should be proactive and take step to improve safety ahead of any mandatory regulations that may be introduced.
Says MAC Administrator Bob Couttie: “There appears to have been little improvement in the unacceptable level of confined space casualties since the IMO introduced its recommendations in the late 1990s, yet almost all are avoidable at the level of the individual seafarer.”
Underlying the numbers of confined space casualties is lack of training, inadequate or non-existence drills in safe entry and a lack of awareness at management levels onshore of the reality of confined space hazards.
“Two key issues that need to be addressed are seafarer and management education and awareness about the nature of confined spaces, that the hazards of confined spaces extend outside the space itself, and the need to avoid a ‘rush to rescue’. It isn’t enough for confined spaces to be identified in a ship’s SMS because almost any space can become a confined space according to prevailing conditions and seafarers must be taught to recognise when that happens.”
Now in its third year, Maritime Accident Casebook, http://maritieaccident.org, provides both free and premium-based resources for seafarers and others concerned with safety management and awareness training, is supported by subscriptions, donations and services to the industry.
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