In November 2018, a man died when he fell from a boat on a hardstand area at a marina. Early investigations indicate he landed on the ground after falling from the rear of the boat near portable stairs used to access the boat while in dry dock. Investigations are continuing.
People accessing vessels on hardstands can be exposed to serious risks of falls. Fall/edge protection on boats, such as handrails, are not usually designed in accordance with the requirements for guard rails used to control the risk of a fall when the vessel is placed on hardstands.
The PCBU responsible for the operation of the marina facilities, including the provision of hardstands, should ensure equipment is available for the safe access to vessels and to control the risk of a fall from vessels. This may include ladders, portable stair systems, scaffolding or temporary edge protection systems. The PCBU should also ensure people who access vessels on hardstands understand the associated risks and only access the vessel using equipment provided. Access equipment should be used in accordance with the instructions for its use.
Before accessing vessels on hardstands, a competent person should perform a risk assessment to identify areas where there is a risk of a fall. Particular focus should be placed on identifying and controlling risks where work is to be completed and the position of the access to and from the vessel.
Measures to control the risks of falls from vessels on hardstands include:
Every year there are on average 1764 accepted workers’ compensation claims involving a worker slipping or falling from a crane, mobile plant, building or stairs. Of these, nearly half involve a serious injury requiring five or more days off work.
Since 2013, there have been 308 notified incidents involving people injured or at risk of serious injury from a fall on and around plant and other structures. Of these, 16 involved a dry dock or wharf environment. We issued 11 statutory notices for the risk of a fall at a dry dock, wharf or marina workplace.
In 2014 a construction company was fined $2,000 when a temporary scaffold was erected on the staircase of a residential house. This obstructed access and forced people using the staircase to pass by an unprotected edge approximately 1.5 metres from the floor. As such, safe access to and exit from the workplace was not provided and adequate protection from a risk of fall was not provided on this staircase
In 2016, a business was fined $33,000 when a young worker fell over two metres onto a concrete floor from a mezzanine level in horse stable and sustained significant injuries. He had been counting feed and was returning to the ground level when he fell. Access and egress to the mezzanine floor did not have any hand rail or other fall protection.
The article was published on www.worksafe.qld.gov.au on 12 December 2018.