September 27, 2018

NT: Safety Alert issued over Safe Access to Marine Vessels in Port

NT WorkSafe recently issued a safety alert highlighting the risk of falls to workers and others when there is no safe access or egress to moored marine vessels while in port.
The alert was issued following a recent incident in which a worker received serious injuries after he fell 5.2 meters from Raptis Wharf while getting off a moored fishing vessel.
The incident occurred despite the following two incidents which occurred in recent years and ongoing engagement by WorkSafe inspectors with PCBUs and industry.
In August 2017, a worker received serious injuries after he fell from the top of a wharf ladder to a vessel moored below. NT WorkSafe issued a PCBU with an improvement notice and an investigation was undertaken.
In January 2016, a worker also died after falling between a barge and the wharf at Hudson Creek. An improvement notice was issued to the PCBU.
On completion of its investigation, NT WorkSafe has charged the PCBU and the ship’s master for breaching Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act.
In all three incidents, no gangplanks were provided to ensure safe access and egress to the vessels.
The PCBUs and vessel Masters did not ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the means of entering and exiting the vessel (a workplace) were without risks to the health and safety of any person.
The alert said there were a number of contributing factors:
No secured gangplank was provided
The ships safety management system did not require the Master to ensure safe access/egress for workers and others was provided, or
The ships safety management system did require a gangplank to be provided, and the Master failed to implement the required procedure
Alcohol and drugs policies/Fitness to Work policies were not fully implemented
A number of recommended actions were subsequently recommended:
Ensure all workers know:  NO safe access/egress – DO NOT PROCEED
Review vessel safety management systems to ensure there is a requirement for the Master or duty officer to plan for and implement safe access/egress for workers and others whilst moored in port.
Review worker induction processes to ensure all workers are aware of restrictions in entering or exiting the vessel where safe access/egress is not provided.
Schedule work and worker movements on/off the vessel in accordance with the tides.
Only allow workers and others to access/egress the vessel when it is safe to do so.
Ensure appropriate drug and alcohol policies are developed, fully implemented and maintained.

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