Near miss: failure of work procedures during hot work at height

What happened?

During a crew change handover walk around the vessel hull, the Master observed a welder working close to the open/unsecured edge of a PS davit area.  The incident occurred during planned installation of additional access support plates at the port side davit area.  A ‘hot work permit to work’ was raised for completion of welding activities; the work area was agreed, a risk assessment conducted, and a toolbox talk (TBT) signed off by all participants.

Welding operations were immediately stopped, and additional fall prevention measures installed.

Arrow showing welder working with unprotected edge behind and potential to fall into water

What was the cause?

The person authorizing the work did not properly assess the work area.  Unprotected edge-related working at height hazards were left unattended with no safety precautions considered.

What went wrong?

  • STOP WORK AUTHORITY was not applied;
  • Risk seen as tolerable: the person working near the unprotected edge considered the job as a ‘quick 5-minute task, so nothing to worry about’.