Getting Inside The Human Head For Safety

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Jun 032010

imageStep Change in Safety’s Human Factors Workgroup launched its publication Human Factors – Taking the first steps.  The aim of this publication is to help raise awareness & understanding of human factors in accident causation and to encourage people, at all levels in an organisation, to take some simple steps to help manage human factors.

Says Step Change In Safety: “We have kept the format simple to help demystify what is often perceived as a complex subject”.

The publication presents twelve real case studies covering a range of industry-related activities and identifies some of the key human factors issues that were involved.  It asks the reader to think about how this applies to their own work activities and encourages them to take action.

Click here to download the document Human Factors – Taking the first steps

Finger Chopper Match Results: Second Engineer 2, Fan 3

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May 212008

It was a routine task which left the second engineer three finger short after an encounter with a fan.

The MSF safety flash goes thusly:
A Second Engineer was taking a water sample from the air cooler radiator of an air compressor. He was closing the drain sample point using a spanner held in his left hand and had his right hand on the cooling fan guard at a point where there was a gap in the guard. At that moment the compressor started on auto start. Unfortunately he lost the 3 middle fingers of his right hand.

Lessons learned:
• The guard was not complete around the cooling fan as a small segment had been left for maintenance purposes. This does not appear to have been recognised as a hazard before this accident. Ships management and external inspectors should ensure a critical look is taken at work places during area inspections to identify such hazards.

• The sample drain under the radiator pointed towards the compressor when it could easily have been turned 180 degrees so it could be accessed from a safer position in front of the radiator.

• The isolation of this compressor was not consistently done when water samples were taken on a routine basis. There was no risk assessment or job card to highlight isolation during water sampling.

• It might also be considered that isolating machinery in such a case should be standard engineering practice.
• Chief Engineers should satisfy themselves that the correct level of supervision is in place for all tasks in machinery spaces.

• Routine tasks should receive proper care and attention. Where formal risk assessments are not considered necessary it may be prudent to develop work routines or job cards which state the controls which are required. The Step Change in Safety “Task Risk Assessment Guide” contains useful advice on this.