A recent Safety Flash by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) focuses on an incident in which a Chief Officer slipped and fell from a pilot ladder onto a lifeboat, suffering minor bruising.
he incident occurred on a vessel which was coming to the end of ten days spent alongside in a shipyard. The crew were performing a last pre-departure mandatory drill, which was a man overboard recovery with the lifeboat afloat, combined with the periodic over-boarding sea trial of the lifeboat itself. A Pilot ladder has been rigged to join the lifeboat which was already lowered into the water.
The Chief Officer climbed down the ladder, and as he did so it suddenly slid downward. He let go of the ladder immediately for fear of getting his hands caught between the sliding ladder and the hull and fell about 2m directly onto the lifeboat.
He was able to clamber safely back on board. The next morning, he reported small bruises on his chest: no medicines were prescribed, and he continued to work normally.
What was the cause
The Pilot Ladder was not properly secured.
- Work Preparation – always rig the Pilot Ladder securely, ensuring that it is properly attached to the vessel’s side and positioned at the correct distance from the waterline. The installation of the pilot ladder should be checked by an officer, who is responsible for ensuring it is correctly installed and complies with the required safety standards
- Training Familiarization – ensure the crew responsible for rigging and handling the Pilot Ladder are properly trained and familiar with the proper procedures for deploying, securing, and stowing the ladder.