The profile of the injury claims seen by the Club is similar to that of cargo claims, in that the quantity of claims is remaining fairly stable but the cost of claims is increasing. The most common and costly injuries are slips and falls on board.
We have seen that injuries generally occur because the injured person did not follow guidelines and procedures. However, the question we should ask ourselves is why those procedures weren’t followed? Our view is that it comes back to how that person perceived the risk, and a failure to consider the consequences of their choices. The unfortunate truth about a serious accident is that the individual might have climbed that ladder without a safety harness securing them for 999 times, but one slip, and they fall to their death – it takes only one mistake.
That is why there must be a focus on training people on best practices, explaining why they are implemented and showing the terrible consequences if they are not complied with. It might take a couple of extra seconds to secure a safety harness but it could make all the difference.
The COSWP (Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers) is a good source of advice on how to minimise the risks involved in high risk operations on board. It is recommended that the manager follows the suggestions from COSWP when preparing International Safety Management (ISM) procedures. Following that it comes down to training – once the correct procedures are in place the crew needs to understand why it is important to comply with them.
The injury cases we have included show the consequences when risks are not assessed correctly.