Shipowners Club warns of the dangers following a spate of enclosed space incidents

Between September and November 2018, there were 8 reported fatalities related to enclosed spaces.
Between September and November 2018, there were 8 reported fatalities related to enclosed spaces.

Although the industry continuously reminds the industry of the dangers of entering enclosed spaces, this remains the hidden enemy for crews. Between September and November 2018, there were 8 reported fatalities related to enclosed spaces. With this ongoing issue in mind the Shipowners Club has published a sample risk assessment addressing the various hazards associated with entering enclosed spaces.

In a span of just 18 months, the Club alone has experienced 15 related claims due to falls, asphyxiation, explosive burns and six fatalities. These alarming statistics have prompted the Club to produce a sample risk assessment on enclosed space entry as part of its ongoing campaign.

The guidance addresses the various hazards associated with an enclosed space entry operation, enclosed space entry requirements and the more detailed points to be considered when implementing control measures to minimise the impact of the identified hazards.

Key points

– No entry to be permitted into an enclosed space unless the prescribed enclosed space entry procedures are followed and a permit to work issued. This must include a formal risk assessment to identify potential hazards and risk mitigation methods to control them accordingly.
– All potential enclosed spaces onboard each fleet vessel must be identified and marked accordingly at entry points. This is not a set list as some spaces may become enclosed or otherwise hazardous depending on the circumstances and so assessments should be carried out periodically.
– It must be kept in mind that a toxic atmosphere can exist in all enclosed spaces (on all vessel types – not necessarily on tankers) including but not restricted to cargo spaces, double bottoms, fuel tanks, ballast tanks, cargo pump-rooms cargo compressor rooms, cofferdams, chain lockers, void spaces, duct keels inter-barrier spaces, boilers, engine crankcases, engine scavenge air receivers, sewage tanks, and adjacent connected spaces. Methane gas is predominant on cargo vessels carrying coal in bulk.
– Enclosed entry procedures must be carried out for all personnel entering an enclosed space on board and not only limited to ship’s personnel.
– If a crew member is not comfortable with the atmosphere, they must be made aware they have the right to refuse entry into the enclosed space entry. If hot work or other tasks are to be performed within an enclosed space, an additional permit to work must be issued to supplement the enclosed space entry permit.

Read the sample risk assessment document: Shipowners-Club-Entry-into-enclosed-spaces-risk-assessment

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