A report which outlines another example of mariners putting themselves at risk by following unsafe practices.
What the reporter told us:
A cruise ship was moored on the pier opposite my ship. I noticed a stage which was rigged on the port shoulder being relocated laterally whilst a crew member was standing on it. Although the person on the stage was wearing some PPE, (safety harness, safety shoes, gloves, and an inflatable lifejacket), I consider it quite an unsafe act. The crew member working on the stage should have vacated it to a safe position on deck before attempting to reposition the stage. (See photos below).
Figure 1 of 3 – Unsafe repositioning of a stage
Figure 2 of 3 – Unsafe repositioning of a stage
Figure 3 of 3 – Unsafe repositioning of a stage.
The photographs submitted had been taken through the cabin window of an adjacent vessel and were the only ones available hence the lack of clarity. At the time the stage was initially rigged, an officer had been in attendance apparently checking and briefing the crew members doing the job. The officer had been holding some paperwork which the reporter had assumed were the appropriate permits, checklists, and Job Safety Analysis. However, the reporter felt that there was a lack of supervision by the individual left in charge of the job after the officer had departed.
Although there are many assumptions being made, there is also a disconcerting sequence of photographs which illustrate poor safety awareness by the crew engaged in the task with an apparent lack of supervision, instruction, and training. Good practice would be to have a Jacob’s ladder rigged for access to the stage from the deck above and a lifebuoy and line ready for immediate deployment close by. Furthermore, good practice would never allow a stage to be relocated laterally with a person remaining on the stage as this entails untying the gantline securing one end of the stage and supporting the weight by hand grip alone whilst the gantline is moved and resecured. Finally, there appears to be a tarpaulin rigged beneath the stage (to catch any drips?) which would imply an awareness of environmental protection, which makes the obvious lack of safety awareness even more baffling.
Why do seafarers do something like this? Is it a genuine lack of knowledge and awareness of the potential dangers and consequences of their actions? If so, then it would appear our standards of training have fallen to an unacceptable level. Or is it a deliberate act of blasé bravado? Such acts are irresponsible and set a dangerous example for other ratings who learn and take their guidance from those around them. Whatever the reason, such actions are not acceptable – near misses such as these demonstrate the need to have better situational awareness, a greater understanding of personal safety, and to be able to speak up when asked to do something in an unsafe manner.