Plastic cover on smoke detector

What happened?

During an inspection of vessel accommodation by shore management, it was observed that a plastic cover was obstructing a smoke detector.  During construction work in the area the cover was used to prevent activation but was not removed when the work was finished.

What were the causes?

  • Lack of risk perception – smoke detectors are designed to warn individuals that something is on fire. A plastic cover will prevent it from working;
  • Stop Work Policy was not applied – crew must have seen it but did nothing about it! No-one challenged this unsafe practice;
  • Inspections were not conducted – this illustrates the importance of periodic inspection of fire protection systems to ensure that they are maintained in serviceable condition.

What actions were taken

  • Our member arranged a “Time Out for Safety” with all vessels’ crew to emphasize the hazards associated with blocking and covering of smoke detectors;
  • Further fire inspection on-board the vessel to check the condition of the other smoke detectors