Standard Club: Lessons learned from near-miss reports

The Standard Club is working with the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP) to promote safety at sea and accident prevention. Its first broadcast bulletin of 2017 looks at three hazards which put seafarers in danger, and features Eric Murdoch, Chief Surveyor, with advice on how to mitigate incidents.

In the first case study, a compressed air bottle from a life boat was being recharged. Suddenly, the union adaptor between the breathing apparatus compressor and the air bottle disconnected, despite not having reached the maximum design pressure of

the bottle. The adaptor shot off at high speed and could have caused fatal injury if it had hit anyone. The video suggests ways in which this incident could have been prevented and explains how simple precautions during maintenance could stop a minor error becoming a major incident.

Case study two features a blocked drain pipe. Attempts to free it with air and water were unsuccessful. Heat was a more successful method, so successful in fact that the blockage shot out and hit a bulkhead opposite. This was because the water in the pipe had heated to form steam and drove the blockage to evacuate at high pressure. The assistant had previously been standing at the end of the pipe and only by chance had moved out of the way and therefore avoided being hit and injured. The near-miss raises some important points for ensuring that toolbox talks should not just be about how to get the job done quickly, and should encompass discussions of safety, hazard and risk assessment.

The third near-miss involved a close encounter in a TSS after a ferry altered course to starboard to make a bow crossing when on passage between two ports. The course alteration left the closest point of approach (CPA) and bow crossing range of 0.2 miles. The ferry communicated that they wished the other ship to slow down and give way by moving to starboard, without considering a second ship whose path they were also crossing. Fortunately, the ship was able to slow and avoid an incident but the situation should have been avoided by not carrying out this inappropriate manoeuvre. The company responsible took a positive and constructive position, and will follow up with the bridge team to avoid a similar incident occurring in future.