Safety Alerts

ICHCA International is committed to helping industry to learn lessons fast,

learn them once and make sure that they stay learnt. 

This information is intended to provide all organisations in the cargo supply chain with the opportunity to consider the events and to review and adapt their own health and safety control measures to proactively prevent future incidents.  We are grateful to all those who provide these alerts and acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.

Learning content like this is highly valuable as it is based on real-world experience.  We encourage everyone with publishable information about incidents to send it to us, so that we can raise awareness across the whole industry.  Please contact us at; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Safety Alert: Assess the risk of fall from height from vehicles – even a limited height fall can have serious consequences

  Case 1: A transport company has been fined after one of its drivers was killed after being knocked off his trailer while loading and unloading it. The driver was delivering timber to a site. He had climbed onto the bed of his trailer to sling the load and attach it to the vehicle-mounted crane. While moving the load using the crane’s remote control he was struck by the crane and fell from the vehicle to the ground.  The driver was taken to hospital and subsequently died. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that this incident was the result of health and safety failings by the company. The risks associated this work at height had not [...]

Safety Alert: Collapse of trailer legs

  What happened:  The legs on a freestanding trailer collapsed during routine loading operations.    Key findings: The landing gear of the trailer had been overextended, causing it to become unstable during loading.   Recommendations made:  A number of recommendations have been made and implemented at the port since this incident, including a toolbox talk with operators, review of alternate support methods for free standing trailers and a new trailer inspection check list for inspection both before and after loading.   Click Here for the full Safety Alert   ICHCA International is committed to helping industry to learn lessons fast, learn them once and make sure that they stay learnt.  This information is intended to provide all organisations in the [...]

Safety Alert: Essential to get the basics right when using handling equipment: adequate planning, pedestrian/equipment segregation, supervision and control of the operation

  A joiner on a construction project was crushed and killed by a 20-tonne excavator. The joiner had been hired by the duty holder to assist with the construction of a concrete overflow weir structure.  He was with colleagues on a road above the work area waiting for the excavator to remove sand from trench boxes when it rotated clockwise and crushed him. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the work had not been adequately planned, and no instruction had been given to the digger operator, or to pedestrians who were working in the area. The risks associated with the work had not been adequately assessed either, and there was no segregation of pedestrians and plant in this [...]

Safety Alert: G2 Ocean shares industry led learning on crush injuries

  ICHCA member G2 Ocean collaborates with stevedores all over the world.  By sharing safety learning between companies and ports, G2 Ocean and ICHCA believe that we can reduce the number of incidents and personal injuries in our industry. One of the ways that G2 Ocean proactively does this is through their monthly Safety Bulletin which is available to all stevedore companies who sign up for it as well as all of G2 Ocean’s vessels and Port Captains. The aim is to make a difference where it really matters; at the “sharp end”, during the cargo operations.   Each 2-page bulletin typically focuses on a specific safety topic.  As with ICHCA Safety Alerts there are no obligations on the reader, [...]

Safety Alert: Effective risk assessment, supervision and training are core to protecting lives

  A newly promoted third engineer was working on an auxiliary engine fuel filter and had not effectively isolated the fuel system.  Fuel under pressure sprayed onto a hot exhaust, penetrated its insulation and ignited. Prompt actions by the crew limited the spread of fire.  Despite multiple search attempts by crew, the third engineer was not found until a shore fire team recovered him an hour after the start of the fire.  He died 9 days later from smoke inhalation. The investigation found that, despite the vessel having a full range of safe systems of work in place, the third engineer, who had worked for the company for over 5 years, died while attempting an unnecessary job conducted in an [...]

Safety Alert: Fractured pelvis in a fall from a ladder

  A crew person suffered a fractured pelvis falling 4-5 metres from a temporary access ladder onboard a cargo vessel. The ladder was installed as a workaround when the permanent cargo hold access / egress hatches were blocked. The ladder was secured to a small access platform off the ‘tween deck by means of ratchet straps. The platform edge was 5 metres in height with no handrails or fall prevention and the ladder could only be accessed by stepping over the ratchet straps at the exposed edge.  The casualty was aware that the ladder had been successfully used by other persons.  Believing it to be safe, he started to descend.  He was alone, it was raining heavily.  The equipment and [...]

Safety Alert: Entrapment by hatch cranes

  30 June 2018 a fatal hatch crane entrapment occurred on board the Beauforce, the second fatal entrapment on that ship in three years.  The Dutch Safety Board produced an extended investigation report into the 2018 accident that also considered accidents on Toucan Arrow (2013) Beauforce (2015) Lady Christina (2017) Karina C (2019) and Cimbris (2020). Five crew and one port worker were fatally injured, one per accident, across this group. In all six cases:  no physical separation between persons and moving equipment no prevention of other operations in danger zone crane operator could not see the casualty no communication between crane operator and casualty no crew saw the accident happen equipment movement alarms were clearly audible in four cases, [...]

Safety Alert: Recognizing Fire Hazards & Proper Cargo Stowage

  Following recent RoRo vessel fires, ICHCA and our partners have continued discussing fire hazards & proper cargo stowage.   This has included factors associated with the transport of previously owned vehicles such as personal goods and combustibles stored within vehicles, vehicles leaking fluids and failure to protect batteries from short circuit.  These are three ‘causal factors’ identified by the US Coast Guard with reference to the Hoegh Xiamen fire in the linked alert below. The USCG Alert notes that there were ‘numerous vehicles throughout the vessel’ that were not in compliance with onboard requirements.  These included:   ammunition found in a vehicle trunk leaking fuel from a vehicle paint and cardboard in a vehicle trunk a heavily corroded battery [...]

Safety Alert: Essential to maintain handling equipment, operate safe systems of work and train operators

  A mechanic died while repairing a forklift truck.  The experienced employee was working with a new employee as they attempted to fix a steering fault on a forklift truck at the firm’s site.  While doing this, the mechanic told the new employee, who was driving the forklift truck, to move the vehicle forwards.  However, the forklift truck reversed and trapped the mechanic against a trailer. The casualty was taken to hospital with severe head injuries following the incident and placed in an induced coma.   An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the forklift truck was over 30-years-old and had not been maintained nor subjected to a Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations examination for [...]

Safety Alert: Injury resulting in amputation

  During operations to load a container to a vessel deck, a ground lock was seen to have moved at the loading location under an incoming container. The vessel Hatch Foreman instructed the crane operator to lift the container such that the lock could be adjusted.   As the Foreman was attempting to adjust the lock, the other end of the container came free from its locks causing the container to land trapping the Foreman’s hand / fingers. He called immediately for the container to be lifted. Emergency response (ER) measure were implemented, and the Foremen was transferred to hospital. The outcome was the amputation of an index finger.   For the full Safety Alert, Click Here ICHCA International is [...]

Safety Alert: Mooring launch crushed against the side of a container vessel

  The aft mooring launch sat at the stern of a containership, waiting for the third line to be lowered to them.  Instead, the two lines that had been run ashore and were fast on the bollards were slackened off by the aft mooring team and dumped into the water.    The launch tried to move away from the lines to avoid getting tangled.  When the launch was almost clear, the ship heaved up on the two lines again, only to catch the mooring launch, lifting it out of the water and crushing against the underside of the ship’s flare. The launch crew were unable to get the crew’s attention despite prolonged shouting and use of their horn.  Finally, the [...]

Safety Alert: Familiarising Fire Emergency Responders with Vessels, Ports and Terminals

  The investigation has started into the fire on board the Grande Costa D'Avorio - in which two firefighters tragically lost their lives. While we wait to learn from the results, ICHCA Technical panel members have discussed ways ports and terminals may help protect emergency responders as well as crew and port workers in the event of a fire.   It is not possible to cover all emergency response planning in a safety alert so we have chosen to focus in this alert on vessel familiarisation. Several members host familiarisation visits with firefighters invited to safely walk a vessel deck and learn firsthand the environments in which they might have to fight a fire. These visits can enhance dialogue between [...]

Safety Alert: Risk assessment, safe system of work and adequate supervision required to prevent unsafe custom and practice in forklift truck operations

  An employee’s leg was crushed by forklift truck when he was struck on a pedestrian crossing.  The worker had been walking across a pedestrian crossing at the site when a forklift truck, being driven by another worker, collided with him, crushing his leg and ankle. The driver did not slow down while approaching the pedestrian crossing and his vision was restricted as the forklift truck was carrying multiple intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). The injured worker required surgery and skin grafts following the incident. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found that the duty holder failed to provide an adequate risk assessment nor a safe system of work. There was also a lack of appropriate supervision. This [...]

Safety Alert: HSE safety notice Hydrogen Sulphide

  There have been a number of significant incidents globally in recent years relating to hydrogen sulphide, either during the discharge of cargo, handling of cargo or as a result of inhalation of the fumes from this cargo.   HSE has issued a safety notice after identifying high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) in ullage spaces of cargo and slop tanks. Members who may be at risk of hydrogen sulphide exposure are reminded to review SiP 015 – guidance on confined spaces. The high concentrations (up to 16,000ppm) are above the upper measuring limits of the standard portable gas monitoring equipment generally used onboard tankers and floating production storage and offloading (FPSOs) and may be undetected. Hydrogen sulphide concentrations over [...]

Safety Alert: Uncontrolled movement of spreader bar

  A vessel was set up alongside a barge in preparation for the subsea deployment of a 16″ (40cm) spool. The spreader bar sea-fastenings were removed by the deck crew and as the crane raised the rigging, the spreader bar rotated uncontrollably causing it to fall from its supports, with the forward end landing on deck and aft end landing on the spool.   The potential for rotation was unforeseen; a rigger who was nearby had to move quickly to get out of the line of fire. There were no injuries.   Full details here ICHCA International is committed to helping industry to learn lessons fast, learn them once and make sure that they stay learnt.  This information is intended [...]

Safety Alert: right lower right leg severed in mooring incident

  German Federal Maritime Casualty Investigation report 6/22 examines an incident where a deckhand’s foot became caught in the eye of a mooring line.  The eye was lying loose on the ground but was already over a bollard.  As the vessel moved, the eye pulled tight on the bollard, severing the deckhand’s foot.   The investigation concluded that there was no violation of existing working procedures by any of the people on board.  “Inattentiveness during the routine sequence of operations very likely contributed to the accident in this particular case.” The investigators conclude that the post-accident measures by the shipping company, in particular the use of lines with a smaller eye, would have prevented the accident.  However at the same [...]

Safety Alert: fumigant poisoning fatality on board a bulk carrier

  17 May 2022, bulk carrier Jupiter was at anchor.  An ordinary seafarer collapsed while carrying out a routine pre-discharge check on the condition of a soya bean cargo in the hold.  Another crew member attempted to help and also collapsed.  Both were recovered from the hold by a team wearing breathing apparatus and transferred to hospital ashore.  The initial casualty did not survive.  The second crew member was hospitalised for 13 days but made a full recovery.   The seafarer died as a result of exposure to lethal levels of phosphine gas. The cargo had been fumigated at the load port.  The holds were not considered dangerous because the vessel had a gas free certificate, issued by fumigant removal [...]

Safety Alert: HSE safety notice – LPG forklift truck fire risk

  The UK Health & Safety Executive has issued a safety notice after becoming aware of a number of fires on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered forklift trucks (FLT) and other similar vehicles that have occurred during starting.   The build-up of deposits in fuel systems, in particular, the vaporiser units of LPG powered vehicles has led to a number of fires.   Operators should:   Review safe system of work in relation to the use of all LPG powered lift trucks and similar vehicles Provide information, instruction and training for all operators about the hazards raised in the alert Park LPG vehicles in well ventilated areas free from flammable material, particularly when parking overnight or for longer periods   [...]

Safety Alert: Preventing movement of lorries whilst they are being loaded

  An employee died while loading lorry.   The victim was operating a forklift truck at the company’s site and was fatally injured when the lorry he was loading was moved by the lorry driver.  This pulled the forklift truck over and trapped the forklift operator underneath. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the duty holder’s risk assessment failed to take into account the possibility of lorries moving while they are being loaded. HSE also found that the systems of work provided for ensuring that vehicles were not moved during loading activities were inadequate. HSE inspector John Boyle commented: “This incident could have been avoided by implementing the correct control measures and safe working practices.”   [...]

Safety Alert: Examining the load, planning the lift and implementing control measures

  On 17 August 2018, an employee was helping move a large piece of machinery from one trailer to another at a depot.    As the team of workers were moving the piece of machinery, it fell from the bed of the vehicle trailer and hit the employee killing him instantly.   An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that when the workers were transferring the load for shipment, the machinery was in two parts and the smaller section fell free during the lifting operation.  This caused the part of machinery to strike the person resulting in immediate fatal injuries. HSE has detailed guidance on the provision and use of work equipment. After the hearing HSE inspector Julian [...]

Safety Alert: Beat The Heat

  Working in hot conditions (especially but not only when combined with humidity) can be a serious health threat to workers if the risks are not managed.  Signal Mutual in the USA notes that “Every year dozens of workers die, and thousands more become ill while working in extreme heat or humid conditions.”  We are grateful to Signal Mutual for sharing this alert about the risks and basic preventive measures. Signal also report that “Over the past three years, more than 70 heat stress-related claims have been reported within the Mutual. Several heat related illnesses (heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat syncope (fainting), heat cramps, and heat rashes) can affect workers. Some of the symptoms are nonspecific, which means when a [...]

Safety Alert: Timber stacking in ports

  The second row of four rows of timber stacked quayside fell, hitting row one. Thankfully, the first row did not then also fall, but this could have resulted in serious injuries to workers and machinery in the area.   Key findings: The timber had not been block-stacked, resulting in wide gaps between rows Roundwood was not squared-off at regular intervals Stacks created outside of the reach of stevedores handling machinery Hauliers did not stop work and rectify the spacing of stanchions at time of stacking   Recommendations: Members who handle timber cargoes are reminded to review their procedures on timber handling, noting that risk assessments should always be undertaken, and appropriate control measures introduced to ensure safe working for [...]

Safety Alert: Marine Casualty Investigation Board report Arklow Clan

  ICHCA International is committed to helping industry to learn lessons fast, learn them once and make sure that they stay learnt.  This information is intended to provide all organisations in the cargo supply chain with the opportunity to consider the events and to review and adapt their own health and safety control measures to proactively prevent future incidents.    The general cargo vessel “Arklow Clan”, berthed alongside at the Port of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK) during the afternoon of 11 August 2021, in ballast condition, and scheduled to commence loading a cargo of scrap metal in bulk the following morning. At around 17.49 hours (hrs), three crewmembers commenced lowering the walkway handrails in preparation for loading operations. Whilst [...]

Safety Alert: Seat Belts Save Lives

  Over the years, Women and Men in the maritime industry have experienced life altering incidents while operating Powered Industrial Trucks (PIT’s).   Despite training, some operators chose to not wear seat belts, at times resulting in injuries. However, there are the ones who chose to wear their seat belts, not for themselves, but for their families and loved ones. They did not allow anyone to influence them to not wear Life Saving Equipment. They chose to go home safe. Click Here for the full Operational Alert We are grateful to Signal Mutual for providing details of this incident and acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others. If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, [...]

Safety Alert: Worker struck by abnormal load during transit

  ICHCA International is committed to helping industry to learn lessons fast, learn them once and make sure that they stay learnt.  This information is intended to provide all organisations in the cargo supply chain with the opportunity to consider the events and to review and adapt their own health and safety control measures to proactively prevent future incidents.   A haulage contractor lorry was transporting project cargo within a port to the vessel location for onward transportation.  It collided with a worker carrying out repairs to a damaged roadside lamp. The lamp had been damaged by the same vehicle / driver on a previous transit.   Key findings: Cargo components overhung the trailer, exceeding guidelines, no escort vehicle was [...]

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