Fall From a Low-rise Stepping Platform Turns Fatal


Summary of the accident:

A bosun was cleansing the hatch coaming of a cargo hold, he fell from a low-rise stepping platform and died.


The bosun was standing on a stepping platform that was 0.85 meters above the main deck and located in between No.2 and No.3 cargo holds on the starboard side.  The platform covered the piping on deck and for the crew to walk across the piping safely.  He was holding a water hose to cleanse the hatch coaming of the No.2 cargo hold.  Bosun fell backward from the platform onto the deck.  The back of his head hit the deck.  This fatal fall sustained a bad injury on his head.

Upon the advice of International Radio Medical Centre, the bosun was taken to a hospital in the nearby port Qingdao.  But, he was declared dead due to a severe brain injury.

Factors Contributing to the accident:

  • The bosun was working with his back facing the side of the platform.  Concentrating on his work, the bosun might not have been aware that he was already standing near the edge of the stepping platform.  
  • The bosun’s alertness of getting hurt from a fall off a low-rise platform might have been less.
  • Probably due to losing his footing, the bosun fell backward from the platform with the back of his head hitting the deck and sustained a severe injury to the back of his head.

Lessons learnt:

All crew on board should always maintain their alertness even when they are working only on a low-rise stepping platform.

Source: Hong Kong Marine Department


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