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Web Alert: Enclosed space entry concerns

07 May 2019

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) is calling attention to the hazards of confined space entry after a 'shocking spike' in the number of deaths associated with the known hazard.


Confined space fatalities are all too familiar to the shipping industry. According to the ITF, since January 2018, 16 dockers and 12 seafarers have died from asphyxiation or explosions in confined spaces – or from falls after passing out due to bad air. To put the rise in number of deaths in perspective, there have been a total of 145 in the past 20 years, but an alarming 28 of those have occurred in just the past 16 months.

The ITF says the massive rise in fatalities says everything about the 'callousness' of decision makers in the industry, including companies that choose profits over properly training and equipping workers, or investing in onboard safety culture.

While the industry agrees that most maritime workers are generally aware of the risks associated with entry into confined spaces, the ITF warns that these same workers may not be aware of the details and extent of the varied dangers posed by forest products, coal, iron ore, grains, gases and other cargo.

According to the ITF, it is the shipowners that have a duty of care for their crew and dockers employed to carry out their cargo operations. 'Education and procedures are not optional. The negligence of shipowners who disregard standard procedures and cost workers their lives must be met with a punishment proportionate to the lives lost,' the ITF says.

Please find in the attachment on the right The Standard Club's Master's Guide to Enclosed Space Entry to find further information, guidance and instruction on this extremely important topic.​