[FAQ] What Are The Most Common Dangers Of Working In Cargo Hold?


Steamship Mutual published a Risk Alert to highlight some of the dangers of working in and around the cargo holds during “routine” maintenance and cleaning operations.

Most common causes

As Taslim Imad, Loss Prevention, Steamship Mutual, said, ship’s crew comprise individuals who will have many differences based on for example their ethnic origin, language, physical abilities, gender, motivational level, their intelligence, attitude and perception towards safety and the risks that they face, that’s why the Human Element is “estimated to be a contributing factor in 75% to 96% of marine incidents.”

In addition, a crewmember may be familiar with a task, leading to a false sense of security, a perceived lessening of risk and a feeling of being in their comfort zone.

Meanwhile, with a new task and with all the correct procedures in place, crew may have a heightened sense of awareness, being unfamiliar with the task and being out of their comfort zone.

In addition, often hidden and less obvious factors such as commercial pressure, operational pressure, lack of safety culture, lack of safety procedures, lack of motivation, fatigue, lack of leadership or supervision, inexperience and an excessive workload may also contribute to incorrect or flawed decision making.

“In most of the cases referenced above, it is noticeable that there appears to be an acceptance of the risk associated with working from height, whilst also choosing to ignore the correct working procedures and correct PPE application”, noted Mr. Imad.

Preventative  measures

The ISM Code became mandatory in order to provide “an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships and for pollution prevention”. However, Steamship mentions that the industry is still witnessing serious accidents, fatalities and environmental disasters.

The Club would like to reiterate and remind Members of the need for effective implementation of the ISM Code in order to avoid accidents

Furthermore, effective implementation of a safety culture both within a company and on board a ship, is a two-way process. As much as it is the company’s responsibility to ensure that ship specific safe systems of work are implemented effectively on board their ships, it is also the crew’s responsibility to always follow them, not to take shortcuts or other risks which could put the safety of the ship and fellow crewmembers at risk.

As for the SMS, it should include procedures to ensure nonconformities, accidents and hazardous situations are recorded in order that they may be investigated.

Appropriate corrective actions then should be developed to address the possibility of the incidents happening again.

Additionally, a robust procedure identifies potential problem areas through continuous Risk Assessment, meaning that, before any task, it has been carefully evaluated against existing control measures.

Prior to undertaking the repeat task, rather than relying on original risk assessments, a review of the Risk Assessment should be undertaken recognising the potential for changes in risk and available control measures, said Steamship.

Finally, after completing/reviewing a risk assessment ahead of undertaking a task, a meeting is required where planning and organisation of the task is discussed by all interested parties, sometimes known as the Job Safety Analysis (JSA).

In this planning session there should be the opportunity to review the procedure, identify potential areas for improvement, make decisions as to the use of equipment, tools and re-affirming the correct working practices to be followed.

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Source: safety4sea 


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