The very worthy Human Element Bulletin Alert! devotes its 17th issue to wgat it describes as ” this perpetual plague which afflicts those who work aboard ships and demonstrates that its consequences are eminently avoidable”. It shows how careful thought at the design stage can head off these accidents before they happen. Railings that are sufficiently high to prevent somebody from falling, adequate lighting over the hidden dangers, fenced walkways and guarded accesses, non-slip surfaces – design that demonstrates forethought really does pay dividends.
It’s not the stuff of great maritime drama, of collisions or shipwrecks. But the cumulative effects of silly, avoidable accidents causing personal injury and death aboard ship, will aggregate to a sum total of human misery each year that greatly exceeds the consequences of any spectacular maritime disaster. Slips, trips and falls aboard the potentially dangerous working platform of a ship kill, injure and incapacitate large numbers of seafarers in accidents which could have been avoided with forethought and a modicum of good seamanship.
Alert! No.17 also shows the value of procedures, which are in place to guide people along the safest and most seamanlike route towards every operational objective. The importance of proper clothing, safety equipment, footwear, rigged lifelines, safety harnesses. The essential issue of maintenance. The vital component of prudence and risk analysis before every task is begun. The very recognition of the presence of a hazard is a good first step towards its reduction to that which is manageable.