201960 Minor fall brings to light major considerations

18 Sep 2019 MARS 2019

An independent surveyor boarded the tanker at about midnight to begin cargo sampling. At about 0300, while walking to a sampling point on deck, he tripped on a traversal deck beam and fell. He was dazed but unhurt and said that he had felt low energy before the fall.

The surveyor’s work log showed he had worked on other ships for the last two nights before the incident, at irregular hours that disrupted his circadian rhythm. Fatigue could have been a factor in this incident.

Lessons learned

  • Fatigue is an insidious contributing factor and is probably grossly under-reported in accidents.
  • Regardless of whether the person reports themselves fatigued (or not), only the ‘fatigue data’ and any ‘behaviour indicators’ prior to the accident can be trusted to draw conclusions about fatigue (see‘Investigating for Fatigue’, Seaways July 2013).
  • Independent contractors working on board are under the vessel crew’s supervision and are their responsibility. Just as the vessel’s personnel must ensure the contractor has the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), so too should the contractor’s fitness for work be evaluated.