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Unsafe Access for Workboats’

The WA asks “How can we solve an industry problem?”

The Workboat Association (WA) recently posed a big question to the visitors and exhibitors at Seawork 2019, a continuing trend of incidents and audit findings have shown that not everything is being done to ensure safe access to vessels in the workboat sector.

“The tipping point for WA involvement to improve safety standards regarding workboat access was following one of our ‘Offshore Wind focused Open Safety Forums’, a member informed us all of a horrendous accident where one of their crewmembers fell and broke their back on the deck of a workboat whilst trying to get ashore” explains Kerrie Forster, Chief Executive of the WA. He continues “After further debate around the room of similar situations, loss of equipment and injuries; we knew we had to take action and the concept for an ‘Open Safety Forum’ to solely discuss this issue at Seawork 2019 was developed."

Since inception of the WA Safety Forum in 2014 the association (WA) has coordinated events for its members on average 4 times a year, though due to the growing activity and expansion of the Offshore Wind industry the WA setup in 2016 an additional bi-annual ‘Offshore Wind focused’ Safety Forum which they open to all stakeholders of the industry, members or not.

Recently the WA posted a Positive Observation Wall on their social media website to support Maritime Safety Week. “The concept of the Positive Observation Wall was started to both promote MSW and to promote the sharing and use of Positive Safety Observations, which often are forgotten in place for only Negative reporting. Many Observations were posted in recognition of the hard work being made on projects daily to promote safety and best practice within our industry.” said Forster.

The outcome of the Safe Access Safety Forum has been summarised in a small number of slides to encourage stakeholders of the workboat industry to give special attention to this known weak-link within the Workboat sector. Furthermore to outline the actions set by the forum to create the necessary controls in enabling safer (dis)embarkation of workboats in port.

Interest has been shown by vessel Designers, Equipment manufacturers, Training providers, Trade associations, regulators, surveyors and of course Operators and their crews; we aim to continue plugging the message “Safe Access onboard is literally the first step to a safe and well operated vessel.”

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