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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Serious injury to two crew members during an internal fuel oil transfer

Two crew were tasked with the internal transfer of fuel oil onboard a vessel in port. During the operation both crew suffered burns from the hot fuel oil. First aid was immediately provided and eventually, both crew members were transferred to a local hospital. Upon inspection of the engine room, it was observed that the fuel oil spillage originated from an open manhole cover on fuel oil settling tank no. 1.   Please click here for the details   We are grateful to the Transport Malta Marine Safety Investigation Unit for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Blocked fixed CO2 fire extinguishing system pilot hoses

On 19 September 2021, a fire broke out in the auxiliary engine room on board a roll-on/roll-off cargo ship departing a UK port. In an attempt to extinguish the fire, the ship’s crew activated the machinery space’s carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishing system, but only half of the system’s gas cylinders opened. The initial investigation identified that one of the CO2 system pilot hoses was blocked due to a manufacturing defect. Several coupling leaks were also found in the pilot lines.   Please click here for the details   We are grateful to the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Lithium Battery Fire – container illegally loaded with discarded lithium batteries caught fire while enroute to a port

On August 19, 2021, a container illegally loaded with discarded lithium batteries caught fire while enroute to a port. The container was intended for a maritime voyage.  The batteries caught fire on the highway resulting in loss of the cargo, and significant damage to the shipping container.   For full details, please click here   We are grateful to the United States Coast Guard for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Fire Started from Cutting Torch Work

Crew members on a general cargo vessel in port were using an oxy-acetylene torch to remove various sea fasteners, brackets, and cargo securing points from the tween deck pontoons in a cargo hold. Sparks and molten slag from the hot work caused a fire.  Thankfully, nobody appears to have been seriously hurt.  However the fire damage to cargo exceeded $350,000 including damage from the fire directly, from the smoke, and from the water used to extinguish the fire. Damage to the ship exceeded $100,000 and included damage to the cargo hold bulkhead, access ladders and lighting system.   Please click here for the details   We are grateful to the American Club for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Fatal fall from overhead crane raised walkway following access panel failure

An electrician was repairing wiring that had been causing a short circuit on the lifting equipment of a large overhead gantry crane. As he was walking along the crane’s walkway, an access panel gave way beneath his feet, causing him to fall through to the ground below. The casualty sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at hospital. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to maintain the crane walkway’s access panels, which had been used to replace lighting fittings some months earlier. Also, the panel itself had been subject to weld repair, and there was no evidence of any steps being taken to ensure that the panel was safely replaced into the void and secured to ensure it did not fail. Please click here for the details We are grateful to the HSE for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Falls Not Falling

Since the beginning of 2022, Signal Mutual in the USA has experienced 10 fall injuries resulting in severe injury.  This alert lists the ten incidents and includes guidance on fall prevention.  We know that falling from height is a significant risk in the cargo industry and that huge effort is put into managing this risk.  The information here from Signal Mutual is a valuable and timely reminder to keep ‘fall from height’ firmly on any cargo organisation’s radar. Evaluate work areas together for fall hazards, acting immediately on any identified significant risk and providing an ongoing review of the work areas Manage the risk of falls – start at the top of the hierarchy of controls, eliminate the hazard where practicable, and put into place suitable and sufficient controls where the hazard cannot be eliminated Please click the link for the full Operational Alert We are grateful to Signal Mutual for providing details. We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others. If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives, and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate. Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.  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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.”

Ship Access

Signal Mutual have been made aware of a near miss incident involving a vessel gangway that was not safely footed on the pier.  While re-positioning the hoist line parted, causing the gangway to fall into the water. Please click here for the full Operational Alert We are grateful to the Signal Mutual for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Obstructed View Accident

Signal Mutual have been made aware of an incident involving a collision between a cargo towing vehicle and a stationary pickup truck. The learning points include maintaining fields of vision free of obstructions, avoiding distraction whilst driving and awareness of pedestrians and vehicles in the vicinity of operations.   Please click here for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to the Signal Mutual for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Abrasive Blasting

Signal Mutual have been made aware that over 130 serious incidents associated with abrasive blasting during the period January 2019 through to June 2021. Abrasive blasting is a potentially hazardous operation if not correctly controlled. Abrasive blasting can expose the blaster and other workers in the area to serious risks from contact with high pressure particles and dust, and in some cases, uncontrolled high-pressure hoses.   Please click here for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to the Signal Mutual for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Seatruck Consultative Procedure – RoRo Operations

Seatruck carried out extensive research into their operations following a fatal accident on the vehicle deck of a RoRo Ferry in July 2021.  A member of the vessel crew suffered crushing injuries whilst marshalling tractor-unit drivers loading semi-trailers. Against Seatruck’s procedures, the crew member was positioned between a moving semi-trailer and vessel structure in the final bay of the loading operation. Development of this procedure has been supported by vessel-based trials and internal consultation with ship’s crew and stevedores which is ongoing, therefore the information contained is provisional but is deemed to be of value to members. A follow-up Safety Bulletin will be sent out if the consultation leads to a significant change to the procedures detailed.   Please Click Here  for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to Seatruck for sharing a high impact procedural / process development for RoRo operations on vehicle decks and to PSS for drawing it to our attention.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others. If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate. Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury

Falling Objects – Working Overhead

Hutchison Ports have recently received reports of a hammer head that detached from its handle when ship’s crew were attempting to loosen a 3 high lashing bar locked into a container above. The hammer head hit a stevedore, who was working 6 metres below, on the shoulder.   Please Click Here  for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to the  Hutchison Ports for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Lashing Bar Tongues separating from the lashing bar and onto the deck

Hutchison Ports have recently received reports of Lashing Bar Tongues separating from the lashing bar and falling onto the deck, narrowly missing the stevedores. The failures have occurred where the nut has unwound from the bolt, or the pin has failed due to wear and tear and lack of maintenance.   Please click the link for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to the Hutchison Ports for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury

Failure of a Road Tanker Pressure/Vacuum Relief Valve

Hazardous vapour release due to unauthorised modification of pressure/vacuum relief valve on bulk transport container.   Please Click Here  for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to The UK Health and Safety Executive for providing details.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Contact with live cable

Contact with a live cable during recent excavation works had high potential to cause harm to persons. On this occasion harm was prevented by implementing appropriate mitigation measures (insulated hand tools) as determined by the risk assessment.   Please Click Here for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to the Port of London for providing details and to PSS for drawing it to our attention.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls. 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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Working at Height – Access to vehicle; protection from a fall

Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of workplace fatalities in the UK.  In Great Britain in 2020/2021 there were 35 fatalities, and over 5,000 injuries that caused the injured person to be off work for over 7 days or more.  A recent UK prosecution again highlighted the risks of working at height where a driver fell from the bed of their vehicle and was fatally injured.   Many cargo operations involve drivers visiting sites to collect and deliver loads.  Such loads should be made safe and secure before the driver leaves.  Duty holders need to ensure that this activity can occur safely.  In any work at height operation, the aim should always be to remove the need to work at height at all, wherever possible.  If a task can be undertaken safely from the ground, then that approach should be adopted.  Where a driver requires access to the trailer or top of their vehicle, all of those involved should consider their responsibilities and opportunities to provide safe working. This may include but is not limited to provision and use of equipment to support safe ways of working (e.g. edge protected gantry) as well as procedures, information and training. Please click here for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to Peel Ports for providing details of this incident and to PSS for drawing it to our attention.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls. 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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Fumigated Cargoes, Liverpool Incident

The Port of Liverpool (UK) recently encountered a situation involving fumigated cargoes.  The port was preparing to discharge bulk bagged sweet potato pellets when operatives noticed partially empty cannisters distributed within the holds.  These were confirmed to be aluminium phosphide fumigation cannisters.  The cargo had been recently treated in three holds.  All operations were immediately brought to a halt and the situation made safe.  Regulatory authorities are investigating and have taken enforcement action against the vessel’s Master.   Lessons learned: Whilst there is a legal duty on the Master to inform the receiving port of a fumigated cargo, it cannot be relied upon.  Ports and terminals must positively establish for themselves, that no fumigants have been employed.   Please click here for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to Peel Ports for providing details of this incident and to PSS for drawing it to our attention.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls. For further information, please refer to Briefing Pamphlet 20 - Unseen Dangers in Freight Containers: https://ichca.com/download/bp20   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Wheeled Loading Shovel Fatalities

There have been nine fatal vehicle-pedestrian collisions involving wheeled loading shovels in the UK over the past four years.  Six in waste/recycling, the rest in wood chip.  Some were due to poor forward visibility, others resulted from reversing.  Larger capacity buckets had been fitted to some machines, further reducing forward visibility.   The UK regulatory authority has issued a safety notice is to remind dutyholders who use these machines of the need to fully assess and actively manage the risk of vehicle-pedestrian collisions.  We believe that this information is relevant to cargo operations internationally.   Please click here for the full Operational Alert   We are grateful to the Health and Safety Executive for providing details and to PSS and The Bristol Port Company for drawing it to our attention.  We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others.  If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls.   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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

Classification & Declaration of Divinylbenzene for Transport in Tank Containers

Some interests have been seeking to transport Divinylbenzene (DVB) from China to destinations in both Europe and United States of America, while mis-declaring the commodity as Class 9, UN 3082 ENVIRONMENTALLY HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE, LIQUID, N.O.S. (Divinylbenzene).  Divinylbenzene, though not specifically named in the Dangerous Goods regulations, is a liquid prone to Polymerisation.  The IMDG Code includes a subdivision Class 4.1 for polymerizing substances with two UN numbers.  Divinylbenzene (or related trade names, which may include Diethenylbenzene or Vinylstyrene) should be classified under one of these two numbers. Products with a polymerization risk generally use chemical inhibitors to prevent self-reaction taking place. Such chemical inhibitors are effective for a limited period of time at a maximum temperature of about 27°C, assuming that a critical oxygen saturation is maintained. As a result, the current mandatory regulations require temperature control to ensure the cargo remains sufficiently stabilised. Freight forwarders, logistics operators, tank container operators and lessors, NVOCs and liner carriers are urged to be alert and to take necessary action to ensure that commodities being presented for transport are correctly declared and documented for safe carriage. Please click here for the full Operational Alert  We are grateful to TT Club 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, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate. Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls. 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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.  

  • Marine loading arms

Catastrophic failure of marine loading arm

Marine loading arms (MLAs) are commonly used throughout UK ports and jetties to load and unload liquids and compressed gas products from river barges, ships, and tankers. Evidence obtained during an HSE investigation of a failed MLA revealed concerns that not all components were being suitably inspected and maintained due to problems accessing the highest pivot joint. The lack of lubrication of this greased joint presents a serious risk of the joint failing with the potential for the complete collapse of the arm, leading to possible death, serious injury or damage to process equipment, and subsequent loss of containment. Anyone using or servicing MLAs should check, review and identify inspection and maintenance work required by the manufacturer and industry guidance. Plan how the work will be conducted (including the parts that are difficult to access) and ensure it is completed. Records should be kept, and outstanding actions should be followed up. Please click the link for the full Safety Alert: https://tinyurl.com/2f3aw73k We are grateful to The UK Health and Safety Executive 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, operatives, and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate. Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls. 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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.

ICHCA Safety Alert: Flash Fire Inside Diesel Tank

Workers were assigned to remove and replace a 16’ x 9” section of deck plate adjacent to the bulkhead inside the diesel tank of a chemical tanker. Please click the link for the full Operational Alert: Flash Fire Inside Diesel Tank 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, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate.  Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls. 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 secretariat@ichca.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.