Unsafe Working at Heights


CHIRP continues to receive reports primarily from the yachting sector concerning unsafe working at height. These highlight practices where the potential for serious personal injury or even death are present.

What the Reporter told us:

Recently I witnessed several deck personnel on the yacht on our port side working at height without any safety equipment. They were working at a considerable height above the waterline washing down with detergent, which in my opinion increased the risk of slipping and falling over the side. As you can see in the photos attached, certain crew members were leaning over the side of the vessel trying to clean the superstructure.



The photos clearly demonstrate the lack of crew safety awareness and a poor on board safety culture.


CHIRP Comment:

The Maritime Advisory Board noted that this  report highlights both human element and technical considerations. Too often naval architects and designers, when designing a vessel – in this  case a luxury yacht – give scant consideration to the practicalities of everyday operations such as washing down or routine access for inspection purposes. Rounded or sloping housings and decks may be aesthetically pleasing but without suitable handrails, fishplates or securing points for safety harness carabiners or similar devices, are potentially lethal for crew members carrying out their everyday jobs. Long-handled brushes will only go so far to compensate for thoughtless design.

Every member of a ship’s company is fully responsibile for their own safety. In addition, all members of the ship’s company (and especially those in positions of authority) have a responsibility for the safety of other crew members – they should ensure that the necessary tools and equipment such as safety harnesses and life vests are to hand so that tasks can be carried out in a safe manner, and  should intervene when such work is not being conducted in a safe manner. It is simply unacceptable to turn a blind eye to safety.

Is any job worth risking your life for?


Report Ends.