A recent Safety Flash by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), focuses on an incident, in which a crew person on a vessel sustained a deep cut on the left thumb while attempting to repair a broken mirror.
he mirror had shattered because the closet (bathroom) door in his cabin had fallen off the hinges. The person had reported to the Chief Officer that the closet door in his cabin had become detached. The Chief Officer instructed the person to wait while he organized deckhands to assist in fixing the closet door. While the Chief Officer was on the deck coordinating with the deckhands, the person returned to his cabin. Shortly thereafter, he came back to the deck with a deep cut on his left thumb and promptly informed the Chief Officer about the injury. The Chief Officer administered immediate first aid and subsequently arranged for medical attention through an authorized medic.
What was the cause
IMCA’s member notes:
- Lack of preparation and awareness about potential hazards: No proper work planning or risk assessment conducted for the task. Failure to consider environmental conditions, such as the vessel rolling and potential cut hazards;
- Didn’t follow instructions – the injured person attempted to perform an activity that was beyond his qualifications and responsibilities. Assistance was offered, but not taken;
- Lack of PPE: IP did not use appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and safety glasses.
- Condition of the furniture fixtures: The condition of the closet door fixtures was a factor that led to the door falling off and subsequently causing the injury.
Bypassing safety controls: IMCA notes, broken glass is something we might encounter anywhere, even in the home. Anyone might cut their hands tidying up broken glass. Stop and think! Here, the injured person “did not use safety-critical procedures which applied to the task”. They were instructed to wait – but did not do so, so they “did not obtain authorisation before deviating from procedures”.
- IMCA’s member took steps to assess the condition of furniture and fixings in vessel cabins.