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How PPE works – a reminder

The Marine Safety Forum (MSF) has published two recent incidents in which failure to wear PPE was a factor. In the first, there was deliberate failure to wear PPE where it ought to have been worn; in the second, a person suffered injury when their foot was caught in a heavy water-tight door on the bridge. The person was not wearing safety boots/shoes at the time.

Incident 1 (MSF 20-12)

A vessel was alongside a break water berth in port, when two shore operatives who were engaged in connecting a diesel fuel hose were observed by the Officer of the Watch to be working on the edge of the quayside within the 1.0m PPE zone without inflatable lifejackets.

What was the cause: the operatives were fully aware of the 1.0m PPE requirement but decided to cross the painted line on the quay as they had left their inflatable lifejackets back at their base.

Actions: the vessel crew intervened, the job was stopped and the correct PPE was provided to the shore operatives, who were reminded of the port authority requirements to wear lifejackets when working within the 1.0m line. Once correct PPE was in place the job resumed.

Incident 2 (MSF 20-09)

The injured party stepped outside during his watch to investigate an error.  On his return he entered the wheelhouse from the outer bridge deck through the weather tight door. At the time of entering the bridge, the vessel made a slight roll. Due to the weight of the door (approx. 350 kg ), and holding the door while passing through, he control of the door, which trapped his foot as it slammed shut. He sustained some bruising, which was treated with a cold ice pack. 

What was the cause

  • While the weight of the door was widely acknowledged as a hazard, no risk assessment was in place;
  • The IP was not wearing safety boots or safety shoes at the time.


  • Wear safety boots or safety shoes when at work – even on the bridge;
  • Conduct risk assessment on hazards and implement all reasonably possible preventative measures, including correct PPE;
  • Improved design / automatic locking device for door, identified/ordered during subsequent risk assessment.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 16 December 2020
Download: IMCA SF 34/20

Relevant life-saving rules:
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