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Nature of Shipboard Hazards

The various shipboard hazards are:

1. Slips, trips and falls due to slippery surfaces (oil, grease, garbage, water, ice, etc) or
obstructions (pipelines, welding cables, lashing eyes, wires, ropes, etc.);
2. Head injuries due to low doorway entrances, overhead loads, falling equipment or
material, etc;
3. Falls through open manholes, unfenced tween decks, loose or missing gratings, etc;
4. Clothing, fingers, etc getting caught in moving machinery such as grinding wheels, winch
drums, gears, flywheels, etc;
5. Burns from steam pipes, hot machinery, welding sparks, etc;
6. Eye injuries through chipping, welding, chemicals, etc;
7. Hazards of extreme weather e.g. cold temperatures can cause frost bite
Note: Obey all signs and notices that are placed in a working place for the purpose of increased
safety and so that other persons can do likewise, do not cover signs or notices.
List of equipment provided on board to counter these hazards
Personal Protective Equipment
1. Helmet
2. Goggles
3. Gloves
4. Safety shoes
5. Dust masks and respirators
6. Protective clothing
7. Self-contained breathing apparatus
List of operations that take place on board which can be hazardous to personnel or ship
1. Loading/unloading of cargoes
i) The various ship types as general cargo vessels, bulk carriers, container ships, ro-ro
and car carriers, tankers, chemical and gas carriers and passenger ships;
ii) In general, cargo vessels, bulk carriers and container ships cargo is lifted on and off
the vessel by cranes or derricks. Bulk cargo is poured into the ship's hold by conveyor
iii) The hazards on these vessels, in the holds and on the jetty alongside are mainly from
overhead loads, lifting gear and cargo handling equipment such as trucks and
forklifts, bulldozers, bob-cats;

iv) No unauthorized persons should be allowed into the working area;

v) All personnel should use the offshore side of the deck;
vi) Ro-ro ships and car carriers have several decks connected by ramps and cargo is
driven on and off the vessel and up to the various decks via the ramps;
vii) Cargo is driven at high speeds and any person standing in the way is likely to be run
viii) In tankers, chemical carriers and gas carriers, the cargo is in the liquid state and is
pumped into and out from the ship through pipelines;
ix) The main hazard is from gas, which could be flammable, toxic or could cause a lack
of oxygen;

Personnel working on these types of vessels must have special knowledge of the
hazards involved and working procedures, which is covered in the tanker
familiarization training course;

xi) Passenger ships may also carry cars or other cargo, and includes ferries;
xii) In addition to deck and engine-room staff, there may be a large number of cooks,

waiters, housekeeping staff, shop and other service assistants, entertainment, medical
and religious attendants, etc. and that personnel working on those ships must have a
knowledge of crowd control, especially in emergency situations.
2. Mooring
i) Mooring is the tying up of a ship to a jetty, berth or pier
ii) The lines used to tie up the ship are known as mooring lines or mooring wires;
iii) Using a diagram, show the disposition of headlines and stern lines, breast lines and
back springs;
iv) Mooring lines are extremely heavy synthetic lines around 100 mm diameter or more,
and wires too are heavy around 50 mm diameter, depending on the size of the ship;
v) All mooring equipment - ropes, wires, heaving lines, stoppers, shackles, winches and
windlass, etc. -must be checked to be in good order and condition before the
vi) The ship is brought alongside by passing one or more lines ashore and heaving on
these lines, using the windlass and mooring winches;
vii) These ropes and wires are risky to handle and can be extremely dangerous to those in
the vicinity, especially when under stress;
viii) When the ropes or wires part under stress, they can cause a whiplash that can kill or
dismember a person;
ix) Persons engaged in mooring operations must be extremely careful and aware of the
risks and stay well clear of a rope or wire under tension;

x) This operation is more risky during strong winds, heavy seas, swell or rain or by the
need for speed;
xi) Persons should never stand in the bight of a rope or wire;
A bight is a bend in the rope that does not cross back across itself. A loop is a bend in
the rope that does cross itself. A hitch is a knot that joins a rope to something else. A
bend is a knot that joins two ropes together
xii) Never stand or move across a rope or wire that is under strain;

Synthetic rope gives no visible or audible warning before parting;

xiv) The persons heaving the rope on the drum must hold it loosely and be ready to
slacken it, should it slip under tension;
xv) Mooring lines must be constantly checked and always maintained taut;
xvi) Special attention must be paid when:
-loading or unloading at a high rate
-there is a large tidal range in the port or strong currents
-there are strong winds or at berths exposed to sea
3. Working aloft
i) Working aloft is working at a height of (3 meters)and greater above the ground or
deck where the primary hazard is of falling and consequent injury;
ii) Working overside can also be considered to be working aloft;
iii) Examples of various jobs aboard where working aloft is necessary, e.g.
- painting bridge front bulkhead, masts, engine-room, deckhead
- cleaning or painting funnel
- greasing, maintenance or repair of radar scanner, crane or derrick blocks and wires
- chipping, painting, cleaning or inspecting tanks or holds
- painting the ship side, underside of flying bridge wings, etc.
iv) The hazards of working aloft are:
- falling from a height due to loss of balance, failure of ropes, etc.
- injury due to falling material or equipment
- burns due to contact with hot surfaces such as the funnel or steam from the whistle
- emission of carbon dioxide or toxic gases from the funnel due to combustion,
incineration, soot blowing, etc.
- exposure to wind and cold
- electric and radiation hazard due to proximity with radar scanners or radio aerials

Prior notice must be given to the responsible person concerned prior to

commencement of work, e.g.

- the duty engineer when working in the vicinity of the funnel to refrain from soot
blowing or incineration, or to shut off steam to the whistle when working near it
- the bridge watchkeeping officer when working near radar scanners
- the bridge watchkeeping officer or radio officer when working near radio aerials or
satellite communication dome
- the chief officer when working on deck;
vi) Equipment whose operation is a hazard to the work is to be locked or tagged with the
responsibilities vested in a responsible officer;
vii) Those checks and procedures may be covered by a checklist or a permit-to-work
viii) The equipment used for working aloft are:
- gantlines
- safety lines
- wooden stages or bosun's chairs
- hooks and shackles
- fall arrester
- ladders, scaffolding, etc.
ix) This equipment should be stowed in a separate locker away from paints or chemicals;
x) This equipment is not to be used for any other purpose except working aloft;
xi) This equipment is to be checked every time prior to use by a person who is
competent to detect faults in wood and rope;
xii) Knots, hitches and turns should be correctly and carefully made to prevent slipping,
especially when synthetic ropes are used;
xiii) Stages or bosun's chairs should not be hoisted or lowered by winch;
xiv) Anchoring points for safety lines or suspension points for gantlines should be strong
and not subject to movement;
xv) Ropes should not run over hot surfaces or sharp edges;
xvi) A safety net should be rigged whenever possible, especially under a free hanging
xvii) Stages should be secured against ship movement, especially if they are free
xviii) Work aloft should not be carried out while the ship is moving violently in a
xix) Tools or materials should be passed in a bucket or by a rope and never thrown;
xx) Ladders should be used for climbing onto or from a stage, and not the ropes that
suspend the stage;
xxi) Rigid ladders should be placed on a firm base;

xxii) Tools or equipment should be secured and not placed at the edge, where they can
xxiii) Work overside should not be carried out while the ship is under way;
xxiv) In addition to normal protective equipment, a buoyant vest or lifejacket should be
xxv) Lifebuoys with heaving line and light should be kept in readiness.
4. Handling of chemicals
Corrosive cargoes present a significant risk, not only to the vessel but also to personnel.
Individuals working around or handling these cargoes must be aware of the physical
dangers, the use of proper protective gear to minimize risks and emergency response
procedures. Corrosive cargoes must be stored in a locked ventilated room.
Poisoning by toxic liquids or chemicals:
-skin contact
-eye contact
Some of the more common sources of cargo specific information available are:
- Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
- Chemical Data Guide for bulk shipment by water
- Chemical Hazards Response Information System
5. Lifting loads (manually and mechanically)
Most back injuries can be prevented by getting help to lift or lower heavy objects and by
using proper body mechanics in such activities. When lifting
i) Stand close to the object to be lifted;
ii) Bend your knees, do not stoop;
iii) Tilt the object so that you can put one hand under the near edge or corner; place your
other hand diagonally opposite, getting a grip on the object;
iv) Lift, using the thigh and leg muscle and keep the back straight;
v) When turning, follow the feet, do not twist; when lowering a heavy object reverse the
procedure. Remember that poor body mechanics can exert extreme pressure on the
spine and supporting muscles, causing muscle and disc injuries.
i) No cargo gear shall be loaded beyond the safe working load;

ii) No load shall be left suspended from any lifting machinery unless a capable person is
present in charge of the machinery while the load is so leftNote: Whether a ship is upright or inclined in either direction, when a weight is lifted
by the ships cargo gear, the CG of that weight is transferred to the point from which
it is suspended;
iii) Only capable and reliable persons shall operate lifting machinery, give signals to
operator of such machinery;
6. Entry into enclosed spaces
i) Enclosed spaces as spaces where the ventilation is not kept running on a round-theclock basis; or cargo tanks which contains or had contained petroleum products
ii) The possible enclosed spaces as forepeak tank, chain lockers, cofferdams, topside
tanks, cargo tanks, ballast tanks, duct keel, after peak tank, bunker tanks, etc;
iii) Careless entry into such spaces has resulted in accidents, sometimes fatal, if the
person is overcome by a lack of breathable atmosphere or is injured and not rescued
in time;
iv) The hazards are divided into:
- atmospheric hazards
- physical hazards;
v) Atmospheric hazards could result from:
- the presence of hydrocarbon gas,
- presence of toxic gas,
- deficiency in oxygen;
vi) Due to the presence of hydrocarbon gas, a toxicity and flammability hazard arises;

Hydrocarbon vapors can be present due to:

petroleum leakage,
retention in tank structure,
retention in pipeline,
disturbance of sludge/scale;

viii) A toxic hazard is harmful or poisonous to the body;

ix) Define Threshold Limit Value and
concentrations more than their TLVs;

such gases should not be present in

TLV is used to express the toxicity of vapors from a substance and is expressed as a
of parts per million (ppm) by volume of vapor in the air. Refers to airborne concentrations
of substances.


The symptoms commence with giddiness, breathlessness and unconsciousness and

progress onto brain damage causing memory loss, mental instability, paralysis, coma
or death;

xi) Physical hazards could cause a person to be physically or even fatally injured;

xii) Physical hazards could include:

- darkness
- unsecured ladders
- slippery surfaces
- obstructions
- unguarded openings
- unsecured objects left from previous visit
- flooding
- getting trapped in accidentally
xiii) The following precautions are to be followed prior to entry into enclosed spaces:
- an enclosed space entry permit system must be strictly followed
- the space is to be thoroughly ventilated and confirmed by testing of the atmosphere
- there must be:
sufficient oxygen to support life - 21%
insufficient flammable gas for the purpose
toxic gas must be less than the TLV
xiv) Proper protective equipment - overalls, hard hat, safety shoes, etc. and approved
torch lights, non-sparking tools, etc. must be used;
xv) Vigilance and alertness must be exercised, the atmosphere must be monitored and all
precautions observed while the job is under way;
xvi) Personnel must be cautioned against overconfidence or negligence;
xvii) Protective clothing and the workplace is to be cleaned up after the job is done and
things left neat and tidy;
xviii) Discuss in brief the contents of an enclosed space entry permit
7. Hot work
i) Hot work is any work which generates heat or sparks of sufficiently high
temperature or intensity to ignite a flammable gas - air mixture;
ii) List of hot work include welding, cutting, burning, heating, chipping and use of some
power tools generating heat, open flame, electric arc or continuous sparks as some
examples of hot work;
iii) The hot work hazards are fire, explosion, heat injuries, strong light injuries
(ultraviolet light affecting eyes) and shock injury to personnel;
iv) The areas on board where the hot work is carried out in ascending order of danger as:
- engineers workshop
- engine-room
- poop deck and accommodation
- cargo area