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Crewman found collapsed – Seasickness

What happened?

A trainee member of the crew was found lying unconscious on the deck between two cement tanks. In falling his left arm had twisted under him but there were no signs of physical injury at the time. The injured person suffered partial immobility of the left hand as a result of how he fell.

He was taken to the on-board doctor for medical attention. During subsequent consultation between platform and vessel doctors it was decided to send him ashore for further assessment.

Medical assessment ashore found the injured person suffering from acute oedema (swelling) over spinal discs C3, C4, C5. The injured person is known to be recovering under continued medical treatment and he is able to move his left upper limb and movement at left shoulder joint and left elbow without restriction.

What went wrong? What were the causes?

He had collapsed as a result of the combination of seasickness and medication he was taking to address seasickness.

What lessons were learnt?

  • As a result of collapsing, this person suffered a potentially serious fall and injury which could have been a good deal worse;
  • No account was taken of the fact that he was an inexperienced trainee. The likelihood of seasickness should be taken into account in risk assessment and informally, when inducting and training new personnel. A “buddy system,” or similar, to ensure new personnel are looked out for, may be beneficial.

This event is brought to you because we have received no reports of safety issues arising from seasickness – yet seasickness is a widely acknowledged and common issue, particularly for new seafarers or for project personnel spending only a short time offshore.

Safety Event

Published: 13 July 2017
Download: IMCA SF 17/17

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