Offshore Supply — Personnel Safety on Deck
Working on deck of the offshore vessel requires good safety awareness by both the deck crew and those on the bridge controlling the operation. The risk of personal injury is always present. The first defense against this is keeping to proper planning procedures. Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is also important. This includes a hard hat with a chin strap, safety footwear, high visibility jackets, and gloves. It can also include eye protection. Flotation devices will be required on the vessels with open decks. These must be put on correctly so that they do not come off should the wearer fall into the water.
There is often water on deck, so slips, trips and falls and a constant hazard. The deck crew should look out for each other’s safety and be prepared to stop the operation if their safety is jeopardized. Generally, for hooking up the pre-slung cargo requires a team of two is required. Deck crew must go to a position of safety during actual lifting. One crew member is designated as banksman and signals to the crane operator on the installation.
When working cargo, or anchor handling, the vessel will usually be working down weather – even a small swell can cause water to come on board and wash the crew off the deck. In difficult weather conditions remember the old nautical say – one hand for yourself and one for the vessel.
When deck operations have to be carried out at night, effective illumination of the working area is essential. In anchor handling, towing, and also mooring operations everyone on deck as well as those commanding the deck crew must be aware that ropes and wires can break, so when equipment and lines are under tension, everyone should be in a position of safety.
Anchor handling involves working with anchors, buoys, wire, chains and there equipment on deck. The mud and water comes on deck with them, makes a deck slippery and increases the risk of slips, trips and falls. For this reason, the deck should be cleaned as soon as possible.
If you are unsure about how to carry out a procedure, do not just carry on. You may be putting yourself and others on board at risk. If you are asked to do something that you consider unsafe, stop the job and speak to a senior officer. The senior officers should plan the operations efficiently and issue their commands in positive and calm manner. Complying strictly with proper procedures helps to minimize the risk of personal injury. Avoid cutting corners. Always think about where you are standing. Be aware of mooring points, uneven decks and other trip hazards.
In all situations, it is important to work calmly and never rush around. No job is so urgent that is worth risking your life and your safety. You, your colleagues and your vessel will all benefit from you carrying out the work calmly and correctly. Make safety your first priority while working on deck.
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