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Unauthorised entry into confined space

What happened

Planned repair works were taking place on a barge. The work involved hot work (welding & grinding). During the works, the stand-by person, controlling several areas, observed sub-contract personnel accessing a confined space in which welding was taking place. Stop Work Authority was exercised immediately, and the unauthorized personnel requested to leave the area. There was an immediate stand down to discuss the consequences of unauthorized personnel access to confined spaces and the potential consequences. No-one was harmed.

Photographs from member showing where work was taking place
Photographs from member showing where work was taking place

What went right

  • The job was stopped immediately;
  • There was a safety stand down to allow time for crew to discuss and understand what had happened.

What went wrong

  • Working environment: A lack of physical barriers and appropriate warning notification around the confined space;
  • The contractor did not have adequate personnel for CoW ( Control of Work) and the third-party crew did not have awareness of the specific hazards relating to confined space entry;
  • There was insufficient or inadequate supervision of the third-party personnel onboard.

Our member took the following actions

  • Contractor management was approached to reiterate importance of compliance with vessel access and control of work procedures;
  • Improved signage and barriers around confined space areas;
  • Ensured completion of Risk Assessment, Permit to Work, and robust access controls for Confined Space entry;
  • Ensured that only trained & authorized personnel can access Confined space areas and that their access is authorized and controlled by immediate management and the stand-by person.

Members may wish to refer to:

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