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Accidental drinking of thinners stored in mineral water bottle

What happened?

A trainee ETO took a sip from a mineral water bottle in the engine room workshop. It contained thinners rather than water. The bottle was kept in the engine room workshop by third-party contractors. After taking a swallow, he realized that it was thinners & immediately spat out most of the contents.

He immediately drank salt water to induce vomiting in order to get any remaining thinner solution out of his system. The advice from the company doctor was that he consume plenty of fluids, eat light food and rest for a few days.

What went wrong? What were the causes?

  • Initial investigation revealed that the third-party contractors working onboard had temporarily stored thinner in the mineral water bottle;
  • The third-party contractors were inadequately briefed and behaved in an unsafe way – unsafe practice was used by the third-party contractors.

What actions were taken? What lessons learned were learned?

Crew and third-party contractors were reminded to only store chemicals in proper, appropriately marked containers. Crew were recommended to refrain from drinking water from shared bottles in common places, and to carry their own bottle.

IMCA notes that this was an entirely avoidable incident, but unfortunately a repeated scenario that other IMCA members have had to deal with in recent times. Members may wish to make a particular ‘safety moment’ of this incident and others of its type to prevent recurrence.

Members may wish to refer to the following similar incidents:

Safety Event

Published: 14 June 2018
Download: IMCA SF 12/18

Relevant life-saving rules:
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