Proper isolation and lockout (“lockout/tagout”, LOTO) must be completed before carrying out maintenance on any equipment. The Nautical Institute gives this advice in its latest Mars Report in which a crew member suffered burns on his fingers.

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:

Two engine room crew were attending to the main engine fuel backwash filter alarm. They suspected the problem was a clogged pipe or air trapped in the line to the differential pressure cell. As one crew slackened the copper pipe ferule connection to purge the line, the pipe came free, releasing hot fuel on his hands. The victim was wearing cotton gloves, which became soaked with hot oil.

It was later observed that the skin on his thumb was peeling off and blisters had developed. First aid was administered and he was sent to a shore facility at the next port for follow-up medical care.

The company investigation found, among things, that the system being worked on had not been isolated and vented to release the pressure.

Also read: Complacency serves up a steam burn

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • Proper isolation and lockout (“lockout/tagout”, LOTO) must be completed before carrying out maintenance on any equipment. Ask yourself ‘Is there any potential energy in this system?’
  • Work permits, properly completed before the task begins, are the basis for safe and successful outcomes.
  • Cotton gloves are not the best protection against work injuries.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202137, that are part of Report Number 346. 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.

Also read: Mars Report: Shocking end to a crewman’s contract