Too Hot To Handle

Credit: MAIB

The Incident

An engineer on a small passenger vessel attempted to tighten the engine’s cooling system expansion cap, which suddenly blew off, causing scalding hot water to spray onto his back. The engineer suffered extensive burns and was evacuated to a hospital by an RNLI lifeboat. It was discovered that the securing lugs for the cap were bent, potentially causing the cap to not seal correctly.

The Lessons 

  1. Observe → Always allow an engine to cool down before attempting to conduct maintenance on a pressurised cooling system. 
  2. Risk → Ensure you refer to the risk assessments. These exist to alert operators to potential hazards and the mitigation measures that should be implemented before the task is undertaken. The risk assessment method statement is a clear explanation of how you are going to manage the identified risks. 
  3. Procedure → The company issued a safety flash that highlighted the dangers identified in this case. Familiarise yourself with manufacturers’ manuals and ensure that you know how to complete a task correctly and safely.


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Source: MAIB Safety Digest