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Medical treatment: Person fell down unprotected hatch

The MSF has published safety alert number 16-17 regarding an incident in which a shore-side foreman walked into the “safe haven” area of a supply vessel and stepped into an open manhole. Whilst he managed to catch himself and prevent a free fall of 5m into the tank, he nonetheless suffered a laceration on his shin requiring 3 stitches and bruising to the forearm.

The MSF noted the following causes:

  • Lack of barriers to open manholes;
  • Several different activities all occurring at once;
  • Lack of coordination of those simultaneous activities.

The following corrective actions were taken:

  • Covering of manholes with gratings during work;
  • Ensuring that ongoing work is coordinated between the work parties in the same area, through toolbox talks.

The full report can be found at

Members may wish to refer to the following incidents (search words: hatch, open):

Safety Event

Published: 12 October 2016
Download: IMCA SF 27/16

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