High potential incident – man injured while falling overboard (MOB)

What happened?

Whilst descending stairs to a boat-landing area on an offshore platform, a sub-contracted employee of one of our members tripped on a 2-inch discharge hose that had been laid across the base of a stairway.  He fell forward onto the boat landing, momentarily arresting his forward movement, before tumbling into the gap between the boat landing and a moored workboat.  He was able to break his fall by grabbing a fender chain attached to the workboat.  The fall injured him (it was a restricted work case) however it is clear that there was potential for the outcome to be more severe.

The officer on watch witnessed the incident from the vessel bridge and raised the alarm; a deck AB responded by manually recovering the partially submerged person to deck.  He was wearing a three-piece foam floatation device, and all required personal protective equipment (PPE) including a helmet with chinstrap correctly worn.

He suffered bruising to the left wrist and a minor cut to the right ear.  Follow up medical examination indicated that he also suffered a fractured wrist.

What went wrong?  What were the causes?

  • The incident was the result of poor/inadequate hose management practices; Hoses were laid across the platform boat-landing causing a trip hazard;
  • Control measures as per the approved risk assessment were not implemented; specifically, the requirement to route hoses in a safe manner. This resulted in poor worksite preparation and insufficient inspection;
  • Poor custom and practice – laying hoses on platform walkways had been common practice during the current campaign; they had been temporarily set up four days prior to incident and they were not identified or highlighted as causing a trip hazard;
  • Failure to recognise and report hazards – individuals involved in the operations at the time of the incident had previously accessed the platform’s boat landing and had failed to recognise and report the hazards presented from hoses laid across walkways.

What actions were taken?

  • Ensure all work tasks are adequately planned and risk assessed before starting work activities, including review of access, egress and escape routes;
  • Where temporary hoses are placed at access ways/work areas always, consider additional controls to eliminate the possibility for trip hazards, such as use of cable racks or hose covers;
  • Increase focus on critical safety behaviours such as ‘eyes on path’ when accessing unfamiliar worksites. When hazards and/or unsafe conditions are observed, intervene and report.