What happened

On 7 October 2013, a crew member on board the general cargo ship Toucan Arrow was crushed between the ship’s aft gantry crane and a cargo hold hatch lid while the crane was being prepared for cargo loading operations in Portland, Victoria.

First aid treatment was provided to the injured crew member on-site and he was transported by ambulance to the local hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the crew member did not comply with the ship’s safe working procedures and did not ensure that the crane driver was advised and that the gantry crane’s electrical power supply was isolated before he began working in the vicinity of the crane. The investigation also found that the audible and visual crane in motion warning devices were not fully operational and effective.

The ATSB further found that there was a lack of mapping information available to assist the emergency services ‘triple zero’ operator in providing the emergency responders with directions to a defined location within the port area. It was also found that the ambulance service had not ensured that its officers were familiar with the port area and the protocols for opening the locked port access gates.

What's been done as a result

Toucan Arrow’s managers have updated the checklist titled ‘Induction for new joiners’ to ensure that all new crew members are informed of the precautions required when working on deck while the gantry cranes are in operation. Limit switches which detect the presence of a person on the cargo hatch ladder and stop the crane’s travel have also been fitted to the gantry cranes.

The Port of Portland has changed its procedures and informed its tenants that all emergency services are to be met at the port gates and escorted to the scene of an emergency. The updated emergency response plan has been distributed to all port users including shipping agents and the ambulance service.

Marker signs are also being placed around the port. The location of each sign, along with its GPS co-ordinates has been provided to the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority, the operator of the ‘triple zero’ phone service, to better direct emergency services to the scene or meeting point for further directions.

Ambulance Victoria has requested the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority to change its procedures so that when an ambulance is tasked to the Port of Portland, a telephone call advising the port’s emergency response controller is made.

Safety message

This accident highlights the importance of adhering to the requirements of on board safe working procedures, the effective assessment of risk and the implementation of appropriate risk controls.