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Worker fainted and was injured during tanker operations in a tropical climate

What happened?

A worker stood up and subsequently fainted. The incident occurred during hose handling when a tanker was loading at a single point mooring (SPM). A rigger was in a crouched position working on the hoses. On completing the work, he stood up, stepped away, and fainted on the tanker main deck. He fell and in doing so he suffered a slight cut on the left side of the head.

He was assisted to his feet and first aid administered. After recovering, the injured person was requested to leave the tanker and the work site. He was taken ashore and after treated at a local hospital was declared fit.

What went wrong? What were the causes?

  • It was extremely hot on board the tanker;
  • The rigger was full of PPE including overalls and hard hat with chin strap (he was not suffering from sea sickness);
  • The Rigger had spent the previous night on board the tanker with inadequate supplies of drinking water and had to wait until morning to receive a crate of drinking water from the vessel;
  • The rigger did not report to the supervisor before starting work;
  • In standing up suddenly after a long time spent crouching, the risk of fainting increased.

What lessons were learnt?

  • Ensure personnel are medically and physically fit enough to work in the conditions for which they are hired, particularly in tropical climates;
  • Ensure personnel are able to remain hydrated and have sufficient drinking water particularly in hot conditions;
  • Ensure personnel eat properly and have the opportunity to take rest in the shade.

Members may wish to review the following incidents:

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