The UK P&I Club’s latest video in a series of award-winning reflective learning case studies is based on a real-life incident when a vessel’s engineer sustained a serious eye injury when performing maintenance on a freshwater generator.
The animated video depicts the incident which occurred while two of the vessel’s engineers were replacing a UV lamp and its tubular quartz glass sleeve within the cylindrical steriliser casing. After the new sleeve was installed, the engineers decided to hydrostatically test the steriliser unit to verify that the sleeve was correctly fitted and not leaking before installing the lamp.
As a precaution against over-pressurising the unit, a vent was said to have been opened on top of the casing as well as a by-pass valve before opening the water inlet valve. After the inlet valve was opened, one of the engineers positioned his head above the open top of the steriliser casing to look into the sleeve. Unfortunately, at that moment, the glass sleeve violently imploded, forcefully blowing glass fragments into the face and eye of the engineer. The injured engineer was quickly transferred to a local hospital where doctors were unfortunately unable to save the sight in the affected eye.
Stuart Edmonston, Loss Prevention Director at UK P&I Club, said, “This case is unfortunately one of a number of accidents notified to the Club relating to the explosive failure of glass fittings, pressure gauge glasses, manometers and light bulbs resulting in serious injuries to crew. During the subsequent investigation it was established the vent and by-pass valves were found to be open, excessive pressure had evidently been able to build up within the casing around the glass sleeve, causing it to shatter. In this case it was reported that the injured engineer was not wearing any face or eye protection when carrying out the work, despite the ready availability of this equipment in the engine room. If the engineers had performed a proper risk assessment and toolbox talk prior to carrying out the task, this would have given them the opportunity of identifying the potential hazards associated with the job and what precautions were required to minimise risk to personnel.
“Our interactive training videos are aimed at improving standards and safety at sea, prompting crew and ship operators to question if this could happen on their ship, and how they can mitigate the risks.”
The series of videos provide an interactive training experience with a focus on educating crew members on common marine accidents or oversights and how to mitigate the risk of them occurring. Hosted across Thomas Miller websites, the videos are available to view for training purposes by both marine employers and their employees.