Grinding wheels and discs can shatter, be aware of this and use personal protective equipment appropriately. The Nautical Institute issues this warning in its latest Mars Report, in which a crew member suffered injury due to a shattering grinding stone.

The Nautical Institute gathers reports of maritime accidents and near-misses. It then publishes these so-called Mars Reports (anonymously) to prevent other accidents from happening. A summary of this incident:

An electrician was assigned to repair an electrical deficiency in the grinder used for main engine exhaust valve maintenance. Following the repairs, the grinding stone shattered during final checks and testing. One of the pieces hit the electrician’s forehead. First aid was quickly provided on board and the victim was sent to a doctor ashore upon arrival. The electrician was fit for duty within a few days.

Investigation findings

The company investigation revealed that the electrician had worn a safety helmet, but it had not been secured with the strap. The flying projectiles had hit the helmet and dislodged it, allowing injury. A face shield had not been worn either.

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • Grinders turn at high speed and even if they have their own built-in shields, crew should always wear face protection when using them.
  • Grinding wheels and discs can shatter, be aware of this and use PPE appropriately.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202131, that are part of Report Number 344. A selection of this Report will also be published in SWZ|Maritime’s July-August 2021 issue. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published on SWZ|Maritime’s website.

More reports are needed to keep the scheme interesting and informative. All reports are read only by the Mars coordinator and are treated in the strictest confidence. To submit a report, please use the Mars report form.