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LTI – crew member fell down open hatch

What happened

During mooring, a crew person was attempting to secure the rope on the aft section of the vessel. While performing this task, the person stumbled and fell into a hatchway which had been left open. The fall caused the individual to suffer three broken ribs, which led to a Lost Time Injury (LTI).


What went wrong

  • Lack of communication: The engineer had failed to communicate the fact that the hatch was open and unprotected. No toolbox meeting had taken place to facilitate communication among crew members;
  • There were no barriers nor warning signs; 
  • Inadequate hazard identification and risk management: No-one spotted this…crew members failed to identify and manage the risk. A toolbox meeting could have helped address this issue;
  • Lack of toolbox meeting: Without a toolbox meeting, the crew couldn’t discuss hazards, precautions, and communication strategies. Toolbox meetings should be considered essential for promoting safety awareness.

What can be done

  • Discuss requirements for using barriers and warning signs when hazards are present, such as open hatches or other potential risks. Make sure signage and equipment are readily available on board to facilitate these safety measures;
  • Ensure toolbox meetings are held before starting work, and that they focus on task-specific hazards, safety measures, and crew member responsibilities. Encourage open communication and active participation from everyone involved.

Members may wish to refer to:

Crewman falls down open hatchway during simultaneous operations

Safety Event

Published: 24 July 2023
Download: IMCA SF 18/23

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
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