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Latent trip hazards

What happened?

A member reports several trip hazards in vessel machinery spaces.  On one occasion, a crew member entered the emergency generator room, stepped on an exposed support gusset, and twisted their left foot and ankle resulting in a lost time injury (LTI).  On another occasion, a crew member on routine watch keeping duty tripped on an uneven surface in the upper bow thruster room, causing a medical treatment case (to the shoulder).

What were the causes?

Investigations confirmed that depending on the age and design of the vessel, many latent hazards have been present, usually from design/construction, or because of engineering changes during the life of the vessel.  Much of the time, these hazards remain latent and do not result in injury.

Uneven surfaces were the cause of both incidents.  One was due to a redundant support gusset located on top of a step and the other because of multiple uneven walkways.

What lessons were learned?

Latent hazards can be eliminated by:

  • Including human factors in the design of vessels;
  • Eliminating uneven surfaces;
  • Applying management of change (MoC) to any engineering design changes and when not possible to eliminate, use of signage (‘tiger tape’) to identify uneven surfaces;
  • In addition, keeping all access ways clear, use of non-skid paint, keep surfaces clean of grease/dirt, ensure lighting is adequate and wear appropriate footwear and personal protective equipment (PPE) that is in good condition and fastened properly.

What actions were taken?

A fleet wide latent hazard hunt was conducted, focussed on all lessons learned.  Many similar hazards were identified and rectified immediately and/or included in maintenance schedules including an MoC process.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 5 April 2019
Download: IMCA SF 06/19

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
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