Description of Incident
A crew person suffered a fractured pelvis falling 4-5 metres from a temporary access ladder onboard a cargo vessel. The ladder was installed at a previous equipment mobilisation following realisation that the permanent access / egress hatches to the cargo hold had been blocked. The ladder was secured to a small access platform off the ‘tween deck by means of ratchet straps. The platform edge was 5 metres in height with no handrails or fall prevention and the ladder could only be accessed by stepping over the ratchet straps at the exposed edge.
On previously attempting to access the cargo, the injured person found that the hatches were blocked. He was aware of the ladder, also that it has been successfully used by other persons and believing it to be safe, started to descend. He was alone at this time, it was raining heavily and the equipment and his working attire and PPE were wet. On negotiating the top rungs, he slipped and fell backwards 4 metres to the deck below.
In pain and discomfort he managed to climb up the ladder (the only way out of the hold) to seek assistance. On returning to colleagues, his condition deteriorated, and he was taken to a local hospital where it was confirmed that he had broken his pelvis. The injury required surgery to realign the pelvic bone by means of titanium screws and wires. The injured person needed at least three months to recover.
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