Heavy weather does not have to be extreme to lead to injuries on the bridge – it’s enough to lack handrails and have improperly stowed equipment. The latest example comes from Marine Safety Forum, MSF, in a safety alert.
Recently on a vessel it was reported that a crewman had taken a fall in the bridge during heavy weather. He suffered only minor injuries.
The incident occurred whilst on sea passage as the vessel was in the process of altering course, the weather although heavy could not be described as extreme and the vessel would have encountered similar conditions on a regular basis.
It was reported that a vacuum cleaner had broken free from its securing point and the crewman had been in the process of recovering it and some damage parts from the appliance. Whilst attempting this the vessel lurched and the crewman stumbled across the bridge deck and came into contact with starboard aft console. In turn he fell to the deck and slid along the deck coming to rest against the lower starbd bridge window.
Whether a factor or not, a handrail in the area of the incident was found to be missing.
The vessels crew responded immediately and the AMA attended the scene and treated the casualty.
The casualty was monitored and the decision was made to divert the vessel to the nearest port where he was transferred to hospital for checks. He was released without admission and returned to the vessel.
Note that in previous, similar instances, a casualty has appeared to be without serious injuries but subsequently died.
After investigation the following recommendations were made;
- Crew were asked to carry out Housekeeping audit on vessel ensuring all areas are clear and all equipment stowed effectively.
- Crew requested to carry out inspection of all Handrail rails and rail fixtures on vessel.
- Any missing or damaged handrails must be reported and replaced as soon as practicable.
The old adage, ‘better to fix on a good day than rise and fix in a poor night’ appears appropriate