LR Safety Alert: Working Over Water

Friday, January 06, 2012

Safety alert: Working over water – Lloyd’s Register’s Golden Rules and Instructions for health and safety.

Applicabilty: Owners, operators, shipyard managers and site controllers.

The Lloyd’s Register Group has published a set of Health and Safety Golden Rules which our employees must follow to keep themselves, and those people around them, safe. Some of these Rules, together with our Instructions, are related to working over water, in particular the conduct of boat transfers. We would like to bring these to your attention so you can appreciate the requirements we are placing on our surveyors. Our surveyors and inspectors are required to do the following:

1. Confirm that the risks are acceptable before starting work and if conditions change while they are working

They will do this through survey planning meetings and discussions, identifying the main hazards and establishing the controls are appropriate. This activity will continue as they start the job and as they carry out the work so that any changes, including weather-related issues, are monitored.

2. Undertake the work in the safest available way, for example using a heaving line to transfer equipment during a boat transfer

Our surveyors and inspectors have been trained in hazard identification and risk assessment and will therefore be following our hierarchy of controls which requires them, at all times, to work in the safest available way. They are not permitted to carry bags when they climb ladders and arrangements will need to be in place to heave any bags.

3. Confirm that a suitable safe system of work is in place

Our surveyors and inspectors will discuss the arrangements for the boat transfer including:

• the weather conditions
• times of arrival and departure
• the transfer vessel (we require the transfer vessel to be suitable and to have a minimum of two qualified crew members on board for the duration of the voyage)
• the condition of the ladder(s)
• lighting arrangements if the transfer is taking place in poor visibility or at night
• the communication arrangements between the transfer boat and your vessel
• the need for the transfer boat to move away as soon as our surveyor starts to climb. 

They will require a briefing on safety procedures and the location of safety equipment on the transfer vessel before leaving the quayside.

4. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment

Our surveyors and inspectors will wear orange work-wear and a personal floatation device when transiting or suspended over water. And if the sea surface temperature is below 10ºC, we require immersion suits to be made available in case of evacuation.

5. Working together for a safer work environment

Our employees will explain these requirements as they go about their work and we ask for your support in providing them with a safe place in which to work. If our surveyors and inspectors are faced with a situation in which the risk to their health and/or safety is unacceptably high, they will:

• stay in or return to a safe position
• talk with the site controller to try and resolve the situation by implementing controls which remove or reduce the risk to an acceptable level
• stop work if the risks cannot be reduced to an acceptable level
• report their refusal to work to the site controller and to their line manager: the line manager will then try to resolve the situation.

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