Tag: near miss

Near Miss : Where is the Maritime Safety Reporting System (MSRS) in the United States?

Let’s talk about near miss reporting.  If there is a subject sure to get eyes rolling and profanities muttered under people’s breath in the maritime industry, it’s the topic of near misses and their reporting.  Near misses, near miss reporting systems and accident investigations are of great interest to me and in my humble opinion, should be of great interest to mariners as a group.  As the readers start rolling their eyes and muttering under their breath, the prevailing thought is likely, “WHY?!”  The answer is something I say quite often, “I’d much rather learn from someone else’s mistakes or near misses than make them myself.”

Then again, as colleague of mine will often say, “Sometimes you have to realize that your purpose in life is to be a cautionary tale for others.”

It’s up to you to decide which path you might follow.

Continue reading “Near Miss : Where is the Maritime Safety Reporting System (MSRS) in the United States?”

Having Trouble Explaining the Difference Between Near Misses and Unsafe Acts?

Is it a near miss?  Or was it an unsafe act?  Maybe just an unsafe condition.  What’s the difference and how do you explain it to your crew when introducing them to your safety management system?

Check out nearmiss.dk for more cartoons like the one below.  It’s a good visual explanation of the differences between some of the terms used in our safety management systems.  As the safety culture of a vessel and/or company evolves, many are moving away from the simple reporting of near misses.  By identifying (and resolving!) unsafe acts and unsafe conditions, the goal is to break the error chain before a near miss even occurs.

So, where is YOUR safety culture on the evolution chain?


Near Miss - Lifting Gear

Cargo Moment : Twin 20′ Lift Gone Bad

The introduction of the standardized cargo freight container changed the shipping industry forever.  From literally weeks to discharge and load a ship, cargo operations are now measured in hours.  Moving tens of tons of cargo at a time is not without its hazards and drawbacks, however.

One of those drawbacks is when a container lift goes badly.  Whether it is equipment failure or operator error, even the highly mechanized operations of loading and discharging containers can sometimes slow to a crawl or stop entirely awaiting the resolution of a problem.

Spreaders fail.  Wires Fail.  Load plans change.  Human error rears it’s ugly head.  Any of these or numerous other factors can make your day go bad very quickly.  What happens next is often up to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of those involved.  For those who have had containers hanging off spreaders, hatch covers fall in the hold or containers jammed in cell guides, you have an idea of what steps to take.  For those who have never been in those situations, it may be time to play, “What if….?” with yourself and have a rough plan in mind.

The TT club looks at the specific problem of 20′ twin-lifts in their latest TT Talk.  Take a look and think about the factors involved.  Remember these safety ideas when working with containers :

1. Do not walk under a suspended load.  Ever.  That hard hat might save your life if a twistlock falls off a container, but will not save you if the container falls off the spreader.

2. On your ship, you are the expert.  Yes, longshoremen conduct cargo operations every day, but they may not know the idiosyncracies of your vessel or may not be as concerned about damage to the vessel.  If you have doubts, stop cargo operations until the situation can be clarified or resolved.

3. If any near misses occurred during cargo operations, make sure they are documented.  By passing along the information, others may avoid the same situation.

Lets be safe out there.

Additional Reading and Links

TT Talk – Costly Pickings : the persistent accidental twin-lift problem

Shipping and Freight Resource : Is the current inspection regime for containers good enough..?

Cover photo courtesy of Felixstowe Dockers