Videotel for Action over Enclosed Spaces
VideotelTM, the leading international provider of e-Learning maritime training programs and a company of KVH Industries, Inc., has backed calls by the UK-based maritime union Nautilus for the UK Shipping and Ports Minister to lead regulatory reforms to protect seafarers from the dangers of enclosed spaces. The general secretary of Nautilus recently wrote to the minister to point out the high incidence of death when entering enclosed spaces, where mortality occurs more frequently than during any other activity onboard.
Nigel Cleave, CEO of Videotel, says the dangers of seafarers entering enclosed spaces without the necessary training and equipment are of the utmost concern. “Seafarers are dying unnecessarily and we will continue to hammer home the need for the industry and government to work together to ensure such incidents are a thing of the past. One death from such a situation is one death too many,” says Mr. Cleave.
According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), enclosed spaces are characterized by having limited openings for entry and exit, inadequate ventilation, or a design not intended for continuous worker occupancy. Examples include cargo spaces, double bottoms, fuel tanks, ballast tanks, cargo pump-rooms, compressor rooms, chain lockers, and any other confined spaces that may be oxygen deficient or have unsafe atmospheres.
The topic of enclosed spaces has been in the maritime news recently following the deaths of two senior professional officers last month on the Sally Ann C, a UK-registered cargo ship. It has been reported that the chief officer and chief engineer both died from fumes encountered in a cargo hold containing timber and that another mariner lost consciousness but survived. Timber is known to create a toxic atmosphere in a confined space because of the carbon monoxide released when the wood is oxidized.
The general secretary of Nautilus has requested that the UK Shipping and Ports Minister take a leading role in ensuring that training about enclosed spaces becomes mandatory for all seafarers. Another requirement proposed is that ships carry equipment for remotely testing the oxygen level in enclosed spaces.
Videotel produces “Entry into Enclosed Spaces,” an entire suite of training programmes in interactive CD-ROM and Videotel on Demand (VOD) format with supporting booklets. Intended for both onboard crew and shore-based personnel, the seven-edition series explains all relevant regulations and guidelines, raises awareness of the hazards of enclosed spaces entry, explains enclosed space entry procedures and the equipment required for safe entry into enclosed spaces, and provides details about emergency procedures, rescue techniques, and the use of a self-contained breathing apparatus.
To complement the “Entry into Enclosed Spaces” training series, Videotel recently launched, in conjunction with the UK’s Mines Rescue Service, the innovative and unique “Enclosed Space Management System.” The system is designed to help effectively assess, audit, and manage the safety of enclosed spaces and combat the number of accidents and fatalities that all too often occur when problem areas are overlooked.
“Enclosed Space Management System” is currently the only computer-based system available that enables vessels and installations to comply with the IMO’s adopted Resolution A.1050(27) “Revised Recommendations for Entering Enclosed Spaces Aboard Ships,” Section 3 – Safety Management for Entry into Enclosed Spaces, as well as the latest SOLAS recommendations for enclosed spaces.
“Enclosed Space Management System” provides an auditing process to follow, allowing safety risks to be identified and solutions to be put in place. The system is intended for contractors, surveyors, port state inspectors, office staff, and onboard staff. All crew members can contribute to this ‘living’ system by adding their own comments, photographs, and experiential data to each space record, ensuring that knowledge is retained and safety risks are lowered even if onboard personnel change. It also provides ready access to all essential information needed to enter and work within an enclosed space as safely as possible. Gathered information can be viewed ashore as well as on the vessel and a PDF report can be sent directly to any third party by email, as required. The system itself is updated at regular intervals to reflect changes in laws and regulations.
“Given the unacceptable number of fatalities recorded in recent years, the ‘Entry into Enclosed Spaces’ series was considered so vitally important that we produced not one, but seven programs,” says Videotel’s Nigel Cleave. “The series plus the ‘Enclosed Space Management System’ all rate at the very top of our ‘must see’ training programs.”