Safety Thoughts – Suspended Loads & Dropped Objects

“Do not walk under a suspended load” is one of our twelve Life Saving Rules and it is easy to understand that being hit by a falling container will probably kill you. It is also clear that wearing a safety helmet will be of little use in this case. So why do we wear safety helmets, and what other dangers so we face?

A ship has many different decks, and equipment and materials are fixed or stored at various heights on each deck. This means that the crew will often be working at many different levels and may be working above other crew members. Therefore, if we drop a tool or piece of equipment, or if we fall, we risk hitting someone else and causing an injury. We may think that a small item will not cause any damage but even small, lightweight items may cause serious injury if dropped from sufficient height.

Research shows that an object weighing only 200 grams is likely to cause injury if dropped from a height of 20 metres and is potentially lethal if dropped from 50 meters; an object weighing one kilogram is likely to cause a fatal injury if dropped from ten metres.

 

Below are some examples of the typical weights of everyday objects found onboard ship:

WRISTWATCH 10 – 20 GRAMS
SMART PHONE 100 – 200 GRAMS
40MM PADLOCK 140 – 150 GRAMS
CHIPPING HAMMER 150 – 250 GRAMS
60 MM PADLOCK 230 GRAMS
PAINT ROLLER 500 GRAMS
SAFETY SHOE 750GRAMS-1KG
POWER TOOL (DRILL) 1-3KG
CO2 FIRE EXTINGUISHER 2KG
TWIST LOCK 5-7KG
5 LITRE TIN OF PAINT 7KG

We can see that an electric drill dropped from two metres will almost certainly cause an injury, and a twist lock dropped from the same height may prove fatal.

The message is clear – protect yourself by wearing appropriate PPE and staying clear of suspended loads and people working above you; protect your ship mates by ensuring all tools and equipment are always prevented from falling.

 

DROPPED OBJECT INJURIES ARE PREVENTABLE!

  1. Do not stand under suspended loads
  2. Do not stand underneath people carrying out work at height
  3. If you must move under a suspended load, obtain the permission of the person in charge and spend the minimum time in the danger zone.
  4. Always secure tools and equipment by a lanyard when working at height
  5. Never leave unsecured items on top of containers or other cargo
  6. Observe good housekeeping – always stow equipment correctly when not in use
  7. Observe good housekeeping – keep your working area and personal space clean and free from loose objects.
  8. Always be aware of what is above you – TH!NK LSR.

 

Peter Chilman, QSE Manager