In its latest Mars Report, The Nautical Institute describes how a deck officer suffered an eye injury from high pressure air release while inspecting the free fall lifeboat air cylinders. That is why protective eyewear should be as commonplace as steel-toed boots, argues the Institute.

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:

A deck officer was tasked to escort an accredited technician to inspect the free fall lifeboat air cylinders while the vessel was in port. The technician requested that the officer assist him by opening the air cylinder valves one by one to check the pressure.

The first valve was opened without incident, but when the second valve was opened, the high-pressure hose burst near the officer’s face. Compressed air, dust and particles from the damaged hose hit his eyes, causing irritation.

First aid was quickly provided and the victim was then taken ashore for medical attention. After two days rest, the crew member was considered fit for duty.

Also read: ‘Crew should carry out on-site risk assessments to avoid unnecessary injury’

Advice from The Nautical Institute

This incident is a good example of why protective eyewear should be an item of common usage on board, much as hardhats and steel-toed boots already are.

Also read: Eye protection a poor second

Mars Reports

This accident was covered in the Mars Reports, originally published as Mars 202226, that are part of Report Number 357. Selections of Mars Reports are also published in the SWZ|Maritime magazine. The Nautical Institute compiles these reports to help prevent maritime accidents. That is why they are also published (in full) 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.

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