Falling boat injures person

Friday, 18 October, 2019

Falling boat injures person

Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Queensland (WHS Queensland) is investigating after a hardstand failure caused a large boat to topple over and seriously injure a person in July 2019. Early enquiries indicate a prop or stand that was part of the system stabilising the boat may have been moved for easier access while maintenance was being carried out, according to the regulator. Unexpected or uncontrolled movement of hardstand-supported boats can put workers and others at risk of death or serious injury, WHS Queensland warned.

To prevent similar incidents, the regulator is reminding persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) of their duty to ensure workers and others are not exposed to health and safety risks, and that plants are used, handled, stored and transported safely. Additionally, those managing or controlling marina or boatyard operations have a duty to ensure plants, equipment and systems — including those used to stabilise boats out of water — do not pose a health and safety risk.

Before starting work on a hardstand-supported boat, risks associated with boat stability must be assessed and managed, with any propping or bracing system to be designed and installed by competent people with knowledge and experience in potential loadings. Here, they must consider any access requirements by workers or others at each stage of work, how to prevent workers or others making unauthorised alterations to the propping system, the condition of the materials used to support the boat — such as timbers, stands props and braces — and ultimately, they must ensure the propping or bracing system will ensure boat stability for the whole time it is on the hardstand.

Once risks are identified, all hazards must be managed according to the hierarchy of control, eliminating or substituting the hazards where reasonably practicable. Where it is not reasonably practicable, PCBUs and marina or boat yard managers must reduce the risk through engineering controls — only using props, braces, stands, blocks or cradles that are without any defects and using, inspecting and maintaining them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Administrative controls may be used to further reduce risk, including safe work procedures on the use of boat stabilising materials and systems; ensuring only authorised persons can alter the boat’s propping system; providing instruction, training and supervision on safe work procedures to workers and others; and installing signage or tape to warn of dangers of altering the propping system. PCBUs and marina or boatyard managers might also establish exclusion zones surrounding the hardstand area where the boat is stored. Before beginning work, all stands or props should be inspected by an authorised person to determine if any movement or alterations to the system have occurred. Finally, any remaining risk must be controlled with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats, steelcap boots and protective eyewear.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/badahos

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