The incident

At around 17:26 on 18 September 2018, while the cargo vessel ERIK was moored at the Mitsubishi Naoshima wharf, with the master and 14 crew members on board, 4 crew members were performing the cleaning work of the upper hatch coaming of the cargo holds after unloading cargo, and an able seaman fell from the upper deck to the bottom floor of the cargo hold.

The able seaman (Crew member A) was pronounced dead after being conveyed from the cargo hold.

Probable causes

  • It is considered probable that this accident occurred because Crew Member A was working while being in an unstable posture on the Ladder when the vessel was doing the cleaning work while the vessel was moored at Mitsubishi Naoshima wharf.
  • It is considered probable that the vessel carried out the cleaning work by the methods that differed from the Ladder guidelines of the CSWP (Code of Safe Working Practices), and that because there was nothing to support his upper body on the Ladder, Crew Member A was performing the cleaning work while being in an unstable posture on the Ladder.
  • It is somewhat likely that the company was insufficient in monitoring that the crew members clearly understood the Ladder guidelines of the CSWP and then applied and performed the Ladder guidelines in the cleaning work, because the vessel carried out the working methods being different from the Ladder guidelines in everyday work.

Recommendations

In view of the results of this accident investigation, the Japan Transport Safety Board recommends that the owner and management company of the cargo vessel ERIK, takes the following measures to prevent similar occurrences:

  1. The companies should have the master of the ERIK supervise the crew members to certainly take preventive measures for fall accident in “the cleaning work of the upper hatch coaming of the cargo holds on the upper deck”.
  2. The master of the ERIK and Designated Person Ashore should implement the risk assessment of “the cleaning work of the upper hatch coaming of the cargo holds on the upper deck” on an individual work basis, and the companies should take the necessary measures for the ERIK to prevent fall accidents by using a safety harness, etc. based on this assessment.
  3. The companies should have all the vessels operated by the Company observe the portable ladder guidelines in the chapter “WORK AT HEIGHT” of the “Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers”. On the other hand, they should take other safety measures for all the vessels operated by the Company including changing the use of the portable ladder if it seems that it is difficult to conform to the portable ladder guidelines in the cleaning work.
  4. The companies should enhance monitoring of safety education that covers such as appropriately wearing a helmet in all the vessels.

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