It seems to MAC that two questions to be asked before a risk assessment could save lives: Is it really necessary to carry out this task right now? Is this equipment being used for its designed purpose? Consider the crushing of a bosun causing fatal internal injuries whilst painting the hull of the the Liberian registered platform supply ship ER Athina, subject of a new investigation report from the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch.
A small patch of damaged paintwork on the hull needed touching-up. despite the cosmetic nature of the intended work and the safer option of completing the paintwork repair in the sheltered waters of an alongside berth, the master’s decision to proceed with the painting was never challenged.
Since there was to be a fast rescue craft drill it was decided to carry out both tasks at the same time, the two tasks were not separately assessed.
The chief officer led a toolbox talk on the deck adjacent to the port FRC. The talk was attended by the deck cadet, Pjero, and the
OS. The points covered in the talk followed the ship manager’s risk assessment for the launch and recovery of the FRC, and it included the possible hazards and the associated control methods during the various phases of the drill. The risks of painting the port quarter were not formally assessed and, although the task was mentioned in the toolbox talk, it was not covered in any detail.