An illusion of safety


A report outlining dangers with inertia-wire rope safety lanyards  when not used correctly.

Lifejacket with safety lanyard

What the Reporter told us:

Rigging the gangway, the crew were dutifully using inertia- wire rope safety lanyards clipped to the webbing straps of life jackets. There were a few issues of concern and I don’t believe they are unique to this vessel.

  • The lifejacket was not of a type designed for fall arrest. (Lanyard clipped around strap and strap around torso).
  • There was no energy absorbing lanyard in
  • There was no obvious rescue means on hand at the top of the work
  • The inertia-wire rope unit was not directly above the Should they have fallen they would have suffered the pendulum effect. The wire was passing over  a sharp coaming.
  • The inertia unit was secured to handrails that were in poor

There are many factors here, including the design of a gangway area that seems to have no regard for how to rig safely. The idea that someone is expected to walk down a gangway with no rails and then lift those rails into place shows that good Human Centred Design has a long way to go in our industry.

Further to this, if we can’t change the design we should at least consider how we make people safe carrying out this task? How do we get an unconscious person back to deck level when using a safety harness and stop them dying from suspension trauma?

Typical marine industry reaction will likely be more training for the seafarer to ensure he/she is blamed for what is, at root, a design issue not a behaviour/training issue.

CHIRP Comment:

The Maritime Advisory Board agreed with all aspects of this report. It is good example of Human Centred Design not being applied, forcing crews to work around the problem. Designers take  note!


Report Ends.