Petar Modev, Senior Loss Prevention Executive at UK P&I Club, suggests how to reduce incidents of slips, trips and falls aboard ships
“While most people may view slips, trips and falls as simple accidents, and a fact of life, they can pose a serious danger to the health of crew aboard ships. Crew members can suffer injury as they move around ship, a mobile, and sometimes even violently moving, place of work.
“Personal injury claims resulting from slips, trips and falls aboard ships have aggregated to a staggering $155 million over the past ten years. This figure is high, but also represents very human stories of individual injury and suffering, which have happened because of a moment’s carelessness, thoughtless or complacency.
“The UK P&I Club advises proactive and precautionary approach to tackling f slips, trips and falls aboard ships to avoid the serious types of injuries that can occur as well as the huge costs of resulting personal injury claims.
To assist in this process, the Club has developed the following checklist:
Crew members should use the following to assess the threat of slips, trips and falls:
- Ensure that there is always adequate lighting in hazardous areas
- Hazards and obstructions should be assessed regularly and should always be identified or clearly marked
- Non-slip surfaces must be in place and regularly maintained
- Crew members should always wear appropriate footwear
- Efforts should be made to keep working areas clear of oil, rubbish and equipment
- Access control must always be in place, with guardrails and wires
- Safety equipment should always be in use, such as harnesses and nets
If an incident does occur, the following steps should be taken to mitigate the consequences:
- Accurate records should be kept of all types of accidents
- Emergency reporting and communication procedures must be followed
- Adequate care and first aid must be available and administered correctly
- The crew should be well trained in recovering people who went overboard
- Use of third party assistance, such as rescue helicopter should be considered
“While much of this advice might be thought of as simple seamanship and common sense, UK P&I Club’s statistics confirm time and time again the absence of necessary precautions. These actions can help reduce incidents, prevent distress and pain being imposed on so many seafarers and also help minimise claims. While crew need to be more self-aware and take more responsibility when working on ships, members also need to pay serious attention to the issue of ensuring the safety of their crew.”