Although this alert from Marine Safety Forum is offshore it has much wider value. It went like this: A platform supply vessel, PSV, connected the oil-based mud hose from a drilling rig. A routine message went from the bridge to the deck to check that mud filters on the starboard and port sides were in the correct position and that there were no leaks on other manifolds.
AB1, who was new to the vessel, went to check the filters and manifolds, and went through a hatch, leaving it open. He didn’t know where AB2 was. AB2 was on the port side, walked around to the starboard side and…
Yes, fell through the hatch left open by AB1. As chance would have it, AB1 was on his way back up the ladder to close the hatch. Fortunately there were no serious injuries, except possibly for Gerard Hoffnung splitting his sides.
The incident happened, says MSF, because:
a) No guard rails or safety barriers were put around the open hatch.
b) There were no written procedures to follow when opening or closing hatches.
c) No communications: There was no toolbox talk or pre-job briefing and the ABs had not talk to each other.
d) No identification of the hazards and ricks of open hatch covers.
e) AB1 had not been given familiarisation or mentoring.