What happened

On 19 August 2013 the container ship Mell Selarang berthed at number three berth in the Port of Townsville, Queensland.  Stevedores started cargo operations.

Cargo operations continued into 20 August and, at about 0752, the stevedores stopped work for a change of shift. In the quiet period between the two shifts, one of the ship’s seamen decided to grease the hatch landing pads around the open cargo hold when he slipped and fell, landing about 8.5 m below on the top of a container in the cargo hold.

Safety message

This incident highlights the fact that seemingly simple tasks that are undertaken with the best of intentions often have the planning and risk assessment stages inadvertently overlooked. This is particularly the case when the task is undertaken when an unexpected and opportune moment arises to complete the task.

The ATSB SafetyWatch highlights the broad safety concerns that come out of our investigation findings and from the occurrence data reported to us by industry. One of the current safety concerns is marine work practices.