When One Hand Doesn’t Know What The Other Is Doing It Could Go Down The Hatch.

 falls, Offshore, safety alert, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on When One Hand Doesn’t Know What The Other Is Doing It Could Go Down The Hatch.
May 112010


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.

Continue reading »

Hatch Fatality – Watch Others On Your ship

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Hatch Fatality – Watch Others On Your ship
Aug 212008


The container vessel Varmland was undergoing her first 5 yearly survey in dry-dock since her launch in 2003. A fitter was killed when he fell from the edge of an open hatch cover into a cargo hold.

The fitter, who had been employed on short term contract, was carrying our welding and burning operations on the closed hold hatch covers; after completing several tasks he went for his lunch break. During the lunch break the chief officer took advantage of the fitter’s absence to open the after half of the hatch cover he had been working on to allow light into the hold beneath, to facilitate ballast tank cleaning. As part of this process the chief officer moved the fitter’s tools close to the unguarded edge of the adjoining forward hatch cover. When the fitter returned from lunch he found his tools had been moved and continued working on similar tasks close to the edge of the forward hatch cover some ten metres above the, now unprotected, open hold. The fitter requested that the hatch be closed to allow him to continue working safely, but in response was told by the chief officer, from the bottom of the open hold, to move his equipment and go work on the closed hatches further forward. Shortly after this the unsupervised fitter fell from the edge of the hatch cover into the hold, resulting in his instant death.

Action taken:

Varmland’s master has implemented a “both hatches open, or both hatches closed” policy to reduce the chance of personnel gaining access to partially open hatch covers.

Varmland’s managers have notified all superintendents and ships in their fleet of the accident and have issued a directive forbidding working on partially opened hatch covers with work only to be permitted on closed hatch covers.

The Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents has written to the managers of Varmland advising them:

  • that their directive on hatch cover working be included in their Safety Management System and of the need for all such procedures to be applied robustly by all crews;
  • to emphasise to it’s crews the duty imposed on individuals by the Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) Regulations 1997, not only with regard to their own personal health and safety, but also for that of others who may be affected by their acts, or omissions.

Read report here