Are Enclosed Space Deaths Statistics Under-Reported?

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InterManager has criticised the maritime industry’s poor reporting of significant and fatal accidents following the death of two shore workers in an enclosed compartment on a vessel, says an article published in Riviera.

Wrong space

InterManager secretary general Captain Kuba Szymanski of the international trade association for ship and crew managers said, “Another two workers have died this month. They were two shore workers who apparently ‘entered the wrong space’ on a cargo ship and paid the ultimate price for their mistake.”

Since 1999, InterManager has been compiling statistics on occurrences involving enclosed areas, and during that time, 104 seafarers and 51 shore personnel have died in confined spaces.

Captain Szymanski, on the other hand, feels that these figures could be even higher, and that shipping authorities are under-reporting.

Report Accident 

“The shipping industry is very slow in reporting accidents in enclosed spaces, as it also is with lifeboat incidents. Accident reports take ages even for flag states rated as ‘excellent’. The IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) database is largely being ignored by flag states.”

He added, “We have discovered that only 26% of enclosed space accidents were reported through GISIS – which means 74% were not reported at all.”

“By not reporting accidents, the shipping industry is not giving people the chance to properly investigate, understand and learn from them. This is potentially putting the lives of more seafarers and port workers in danger.”

Poor ship design

Captain Szymanski asked the maritime sector to do more to address the core causes of enclosed space accidents, which InterManager has identified as inadequate ship design, worker time pressure, and conflicting and confusing laws.

InterManager is actively collaborating with Human Element Industry Group members to identify the most significant risk factors and viable solutions for reducing deaths and injuries in enclosed spaces.

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Source: Riviera

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