What are correct procedures and precautions when working aloft?

03 Oct '18, 15:23

Oct. 3, 2018, 3:23 p.m.
KnowledgeBase's gravatar image


A man working at a height may not be able to give his full attention to the job and at the same time guard himself against falling. Proper precautions should therefore always be taken to ensure personal safety when work has to be done aloft. It must be remembered that the movement of a ship will add to the hazards involved in the work of this type. A stage or ladder should always be utilized when work is to be done beyond normal reach.

A safety harness with the lifeline or another arresting device should be continuously worn when working aloft. A safety net should be rigged where necessary and appropriate.

Before work is commenced near the ship's whistle, the officer responsible for the job should ensure that power is shut off and warning notices posted on the bridge and in the machinery spaces.

Before work is commenced on the funnel, the officer responsible should inform the duty engineer to ensure that steps are taken to reduce as far as practicable the emission of steam, harmful gases and fumes.

Before work is commenced in the vicinity of radio aerials, the officer responsible should inform the radio officer so that no transmissions are made whilst there is the risk to the seafarer. A warning notice should be put up in the radio room.

Where work is to be done near the radar scanner, the officer responsible should inform the officer on watch so that the radar and scanner are isolated. A warning notice should be put on the set until the necessary work has been completed.

On completion of the work of the type described above, the officer responsible should, where necessary, inform the appropriate officer that the precautions taken are no longer required and that warning notices can be removed.

Unless it is essential, work should not be done aloft on a stage or bosun's chair in the vicinity of cargo working.

Care must also be taken while work is being carried out aloft or at a height, to avoid risks to anyone working or moving below. Suitable warning notices should be displayed. Tools and stores should be sent up and lowered by line in suitable containers which should be secured in place for stowage of tools or materials not presently being used. The area below must be roped off.

No one should place tools where they can be accidentally knocked down and may fall on someone below, nor should tools be carried in pockets from which they may easily fall. When working aloft it is often best to wear a belt designed to hold essential tools securely in loops.

Tools should be handled with extra care when hands are cold or greasy and where the tools themselves are greasy.

Cradles And Stages

Planks and materials used for the construction of ordinary plank stages must be carefully examined to ensure adequate strength and freedom from defect.

Wooden components of staging should be stowed in a dry, ventilated space and not subjected to heat.

Ancillary equipment, lizard, blocks and gantlines should be thoroughly examined before use. A defective item should not be used.

Gantlines should be kept clear of sharp edges.

The anchoring points for lines, blocks and lizards must be of adequate strength and, where practicable, be permanent fixtures to the ship's structure. Integral lugs should be hammer tested. Portable rails or stanchions should not be used as anchoring points. Beam clamps and similar devices should be used solely for their intended purposes and then only under close supervision.

Stages and staging which are not suspended should always be secured against movement. Hanging stages should be restricted against movement.

In machinery spaces, staging and its supports should be kept clear of contact with hot surfaces and moving parts of machinery. In the engine room, a crane gantry should not be used directly as a platform for cleaning or painting, but can be used as the base for a stable platform if precautions are taken.

Where men working from a stage are required to raise or lower themselves, great care must be taken to keep movements of the stage small and closely controlled.

Ropes should be stored away from heat and sunlight, and in a separate compartment from containers of chemicals, detergents, rust removers, paint strippers or other substances capable of damaging them.

The person responsible for the work being undertaken should ensure that all ropes, lifelines, gantlines, etc., employed for a particular job, are resistant to attack by substances that might be used during the course of that job. Ropes of natural fibers, or a mixture of natural and man-made fibers, should not be used for these purposes. Similarly, care should be taken in the selection and use of ancillary equipment such as safety harnesses and safety nets.

Polypropylene ropes which have the best all-round resistance to attack by harmful substances are generally preferred but unless they are of a type resistant to actinic degradation, such as those approved for life-saving appliances, they should not be exposed to strong sunlight for long periods. They should also be of a type providing grip comparable to that of manila or sisal ropes.

Rope of man-made material stretches under load to an extent which varies according to the material. Polyamide rope stretches the most.

The rope should be inspected internally and externally before use for signs of deterioration, undue wear or damage. This is particularly important if a gantline has not been used for some time. A high degree of powdering between strands of man-made fiber ropes indicates hard wear and impaired strength: the internal wear will be greater with ropes that stretch. Some ropes, for example of polyamide, become stiff and hard when overworked.

Before use, lifelines and gantlines, lizards and chairs should be load-tested to four or five times the loads they will be required to carry.

Some superficial splashing or wetting of lines by corrosive or rotting substances may be unavoidable during the progress of the work. The ropes etc chosen should not be susceptible to damage by the contaminant and it should be sufficient to ensure that any effects of contamination are examined as soon as possible but in any case at the end of a day's work.

Portable Ladders

A ladder should not be used if any part is defective, for example, if any rung depends for support solely on nails.

All ladders should be inspected at regular intervals and maintained in sound condition.

When not in use, portable ladders should be stowed in a dry ventilated space away from heat.

A ladder in use should rise to a height of at least 1 meter above the top landing place unless there are other suitable handholds.

A portable ladder, whether rope or rigid type, must be adequately secured against displacement as near as possible to its upper resting place.

Rigid portable ladders should be pitched at a safe angle between 65° and 70° to the horizontal (i.e. a slope of about one horizontal for four vertical). They should stand on a firm base and be lashed in position.

Planks should not be supported on the rungs of portable ladders to be used as a staging, nor should ladders be used horizontally for the same purpose.

A man negotiating a ladder needs both hands free; he should not attempt to carry tools or equipment in his hands. If he is wearing gloves or his hands are greasy, he must take extra care.

Working from ladders should be avoided as far as practicable since there is a risk of overbalancing and falling. Where it is necessary, a safety harness with a lifeline secured above the position of work should be worn when working at a height in excess of 2 metres.

permanent link

03 Oct '18, 15:24

Oct. 3, 2018, 3:24 p.m.
marinexpert's gravatar image

add your answer

MarineProHelp 2018 - 2022