Upon departure from the port, whilst preparing the pilot ladder and working outside the ship’s rails, an AB was observed to be not wearing his life jacket and safety belt. The company risk assessment states the crew members involved in this job should wear a life vest and safety harness, but the safety measures identified in the job hazard analysis had not been properly communicated onboard. The lack of adequate job instructions and supervision created a risk of death for the AB as a result of falling overboard.
Lessons learned: Prior to commencing the work, neither the supervisor nor the personnel involved had effectively reviewed the activity using a job hazard analysis. Ship personnel were reminded that in 2010 a fatal accident occurred on a fleet vessel during the handling of the ship’s gangway. They were asked to review the lessons learned in the report “Fatal accident to an AB who fell overboard during onboard work activities when securing the accommodation ladder”. It should be noted that if the AB had been wearing a working life-vest this could have increased the chances of saving his life. Strict implementation of safe working practices, as per the provisions of the Company’s SMS, is essential in order to prevent accidents.
Whilst the company procedures were in place, the implementation of these was not. The supervisor and fellow seafarers did not stop the person when starting to work over the side of the ship: The effectiveness of the safety culture onboard should be reviewed. The report should consider the design of the equipment and the need for crew members to work over the side when rigging the pilot ladder. Also they should consider the effectiveness of wearing a life vest and a safety harness: It is good practice to use double clip-on harnesses, so there is always one attached line when relocating the other (See advice in Maritime FEEDBACK 39 page 5), then if worn correctly there should be no possibility of falling into the water.