• Published: 12 May 2011
  • Incident ID: 3150

Confined space working

Cause & Consequence

  • Drowned or asphyxiated
Incident Consequence

Incident Location

Fixed Installation

Incident Activity

Any Activity Type

Incident Info Source

Specific Incident Equipment

Confined Space. Base Oil. Tank Entry

Lessons Identified

An investigation of the accident concluded that the parties involved failed to have a safe system of work in place. A poor appreciation, by all involved, of the risks of transferring base oil was also apparent. The Permit to Work system was not fully understood and the permit issued was inadequate for the planned activity.

Incident Recommendations

The Lessons1.Whenever shore contractors are onboard your vessel, assure yourself that they are working safely, are aware of onboard hazards in their vicinity, and have suitable measures in place should an incident occur. Deploy a member of the ship’s crew to assist or standby while work is in progress and who can halt the work if safety is being undermined.

2.As with any visitors on board, contractors should be instructed on emergency procedures, what to do in the event of an alarm, and where escape routes are in relation to where they are working. They don’t want to be trying to read the escape notices when surrounded by thick noxious smoke.

3.When transferring flammable liquids by hose, such as fuel oil, lubricating oil, hydraulic or base oil, be aware of the hazards. A simple risk assessment is a good idea. Before disconnecting hoses, ensure that the liquid transfer system is properly isolated and the lines fully drained – trying to stem the flow of a noxious liquid from an open hose while it splashes over you and surrounding machinery is an unforgettable experience!

4.Ensure that Permits to Work are: •Explicit in their description of the exact nature, identity and extent of the job, the names of those detailed for the task, the hazards involved and any limitations on the extent of the work and time constraints; •Specific in the precautions to be taken, including a risk assessment, isolation of potential risks such as running machinery or hazardous substances and using correct equipment and clothing; •Checked by an authorising officer who has ensured that the measures specified have been complied with and who retains responsibility until the permit has been formally cancelled or responsibility has been transferred to another responsible person; •Countersigned by the person undertaking the task to indicate their understanding of the safety precautions involved.

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