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201808 Illusion of safety


Edited from CHIRP Maritime Feedback Issue No49 12/2017

The crew were rigging the gangway, using inertia wire rope safety lanyards clipped to the webbing straps of their life jackets as fall protection. They believed they were acting safely. However, objective observations show that safety, in this case, was an illusion:
- The lifejacket was not of a type designed for fall arrest. (The lanyard was clipped around the lifejacket strap and the strap around the torso.)
- The inertia wire rope unit was not directly above the worker. If a crew member had fallen, they would have suffered a pendulum effect.
- The wire was passed over a sharp coaming.
- The inertia unit was secured to handrails that were in poor condition.

Lessons learned
- The design of gangways and associated areas is often less than adequate to allow crew to safely rig or stow the gangway. Evaluate your gangway arrangements to see if there are improvements to be made.
- If the lifejacket is not designed for fall arrest – and few are – then ensure the safety line is attached to a proper fall arrest harness. These will typically have specific ‘D’ clips on strong points either in front, in back or both, and have leg anchor straps.
- A false sense of security, as in this case, is a dangerous situation. It is an accident waiting to happen.