Welding is a risky job. In its latest Mars Report, The Nautical Institute warns to keep the work site clear of combustibles after an engine room crew member got injured by a flame burst.

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 engine room crew member was tasked with repairing a metal safety box. He set up his welding equipment in the workshop and began to weld the box. As he was working, a hot spark from the arc welding process came into contact with a small can of spray lubricant. The spark punctured the pressurised can, immediately generating a flame burst that injured the crew member.

The victim was able to leave the workshop on his own and seek help. The victim had burns on his hands, neck and face. First aid was given, but due to the severity of the injuries he was evacuated to a shore hospital via a local Coast Guard patrol boat.

Advice from The Nautical Institute

  • Welding is a dangerous business and the job site should be clear of all combustibles, debris and other non-essential items.
  • Complacency is often a contributing factor in accidents. We must encourage an approach where each task is approached with caution – as if it were the first time it was being undertaken.
  • Supervision and safety leadership are critical. Where improper routines or unsafe practices are noted, intervene and arrange for appropriate instruction and/or training.

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202150, that are part of Report Number 348. A selection of this Report will also be published in SWZ|Maritime’s November 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.