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Confined Spaces are "Silent Killers" - Marine Safety Alert issued by the Coast Guard

Confined Spaces are "Silent Killers" - Marine Safety Alert issued by the Coast Guard

07 May 2019

Three people were asphyxiated while working on a Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), which was laid up getting ready for a leavy lift transport to an overseas ship breaking facility. Seven crew members were dewatering the MODU’s four legs. They were experienced mariners, but lacked MODU experience, according to the Coast Guard.

Three marine crew members die after being overcome by fumes in confined space

Because the de-ballasting system wasn’t working in one leg, the crew rigged a portable diesel-engine-driven pump. The Coast Guard says five crew members, including the Superintendent and Captain, were on a dinner break, leaving one crew member and the Electrician overseeing the dewatering operation. The crew member didn’t tell anyone before descending into the leg to check the pump. When the Electrician didn’t see the crew member on deck, he went down into the leg to look for him, and found the crew member unconscious near the pump. The Electrician narrowly managed to escape the exhaust fumes, and went to get help. Other crew members, including the Captain and Ship Superintendent descended to help, without any safety equipment to protect themselves from the fumes. Only the ship’s Rigging Master put on a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, brought onboard from another vessel, before entering the leg to help.

In the end, three crew members died, while the Captain and Superintendent were airlifted to a hospital and survived.

Click here to read the full article. Article written by Meg Walburn Viviano, Chesapeake Bay Magazine.

Every year people die as a result of work in confined spaces

On average 15 people are killed each year in the UK during work in confined spaces and even more are seriously injured. Fatalities are not just confined to those carrying out work in confined spaces, but also those who attempt to rescue trapped personnel without proper confined space training and rescue equipment.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees and others. This is further reinforced by the Confined Spaces Regulations (1997) which are in place to protect staff and others against risks to their health while working in a confined space.

Proper training helps employees remain competent and provides them with the knowledge to spot workplace risks, implement safety controls, write risk assessments and more.

Key hazards associated with confined spaces

  • Flammable vapours
  • Loss of consciousness resulting from gas, fumes, or lack of oxygen
  • Drowning
  • Loss of consciousness arising from a change in body temperature
  • Entrapment

Employee injury, illness and death are real possibilities when working in confined spaces. That’s why proper training is so crucial to the safety of all workers. 

Confined Spaces training with Develop Training

Everyone should go home safe at the end of the day and this is why we offer a full range of comprehensive confined space training. 

Click the link below to browse our full range of confined space training courses. Alternatively, give our friendly Customer Service team a call on 0800 876 6708.

Find out why confined spaces training is so important by reading our dedicated blog post - click here.

Click here to view DTL's full range of Confined Space training

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