The shipping industry does not need more regulation, but a more thorough understanding of the current regulations and a more efficient safety culture to implement the existing regulatory framework, especially when it comes to enclosed space entry, was a key message by shipping experts in the latest SAFETY4SEA Athens Forum.
enclosed space entry
Apart from the common occupational health and safety issues, risk remains high for people working onboard as they may be exposed to gases or vapors that are poisonous. In this respect, crew members working with dangerous goods should adhere strictly to basic safety precautions.
Injury or death due to oxygen deficiency is a common hazard in the maritime industry. An oxygen-deficient atmosphere has less than 19.5% available oxygen (O2) and any atmosphere with less than 20.8 % oxygen should not be entered.
It has been almost 12 years since the enclosed space fatality incident onboard the ERRV vessel Viking Islay off UK that shocked shipping community as three men died successively trying to rescue one another. Enclosed space entry has been over the years the hidden enemy for crews.
A vessel contains several spaces which can be considered dangerous, such as tanks, holds, isolated compartments (e.g. bosun store), specific compartments (e.g. paint store) and others. So, how may a seafarer be suspicious that a space he/she is about to enter is dangerous, if no relevant poster or sign exists?
Accidents on-board happen for various of reasons; falls and slips are the most common. But what if an accident results to the death of crew member or members? This is a very different situation. Enclosed space is one of the most common reasons that result on different accidents on ship.
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