Entry into enclosed spaces risk assessment

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Entry into enclosed spaces is a critical operation which, if not carried out diligently, can seriously jeopardise the safety of the personnel entering the enclosed space.

Enclosed space entry procedure is a topic which needs no introduction. This is a subject that has received wide industry coverage over the years due to recurring incidents that have resulted in fatalities. Consequently, this has led to the introduction of regulations, ship board procedures, training courses and an abundance of available literature on the subject matter.

The Club has also contributed to these resources by producing the Enclosed Space Entry booklet, an enclosed space entry poster and several case studies.

However, despite industry efforts, we continue to see casualties related to enclosed space entry operations. In a span of just 18 months, the Club experienced 15 related claims comprising of 15 casualties including falls, asphyxiation, explosive burns and six fatalities. These alarming statistics have prompted the Club to produce a sample risk assessment on enclosed space entry as part of its ongoing campaign.

This guidance addresses the various hazards associated with an enclosed space entry operation, enclosed space entry requirements and the more detailed points to be considered when implementing control measures to minimise the impact of the identified hazards.

The Club would like to reiterate that Members’ shore-based management also has an important role to play in ensuring that appropriate support is afforded to the ship’s crew as safe enclosed space operations can only be achieved by such a combined effort. This support can be in the form of assisting with the positive identification of the enclosed spaces on board and verifying that they are clearly marked during on board visits. The provision of essential equipment such as gas detectors, personal gas monitors and rescue equipment should also be ensured by management, to assist with safe entry operations. In addition, ensuring that an adequate number of crew are on board is pivotal to facilitate safe operations, without unnecessary time/commercial pressures and that crew are able to cope with arising emergencies, if any. These measures would go a long way towards cementing the Member’s commitment of providing a safe working environment on board.

The Club would like to emphasise that this risk assessment is for guidance purposes only and it is imperative that operators conduct their own risk assessments based on their individual operating procedures.

We trust Members find this guidance useful and if further assistance is required please contact the Loss Prevention Team.