Feb 092010

Recreation of fallen fitter's position. Note head and hard hat against metal edge

Despite ‘an efficient and well-run safety system and organisation on board’ the chemical/product tanker Torm Camilla, a fitter fell 1.8 metres to the bottom of the forepeak tank and suffered a fractured skull. Two elements in particular led to the accident and its severity – holes in a platform which provided a tripping hazard and the inadequacy of the protective headgear worn by the injured fitter.

While trips, slips and falls occur on deck it should be noted that the injuries sustained may be greater in a confined environment and first aid and rescue more hazardous both to the injured person and the rescuers. It has been estimated that work in confined space is 150 times more dangerous than work elsewhere.


Hole lot of hazard

A full suite of procedures had been applied to the work, which was to replace the speed log transducer, including the placement of rescue equipment and appointment of safety monitors. The forepeak tank had three platforms with holes to allow drainage of water ad sediment.

A risk assessment had been done but the threat presented by the holes had not been identified.

It appears that the fitter tripped on one of the holes on the second platform, fell over a slope at the edge of the platform to the bottom of the tank. There his hard hat was forced off his head by the fall, despite being fixed properly with the chip-strap, and he struck his head on a thin section of metal edging, fracturing his skull.

The safety helmet worn was designed to protect against falling objects rather than defend the wearer in this type of fall.


This type of hard hat may not protect in a fall

A railing or a protection plate is to be fitted to the bracket in the forepeak tank to protet against such falls

MAC would note that the fall was just 1.8 metres, that’s not far from an average person’s height. Falling from even a modest elevation can result in serious injury.

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