A crewmember had climbed up the mast of a ship and was on a spreader (see picture) to do a job. He was wearing a fall arrest harness, which was CE marked and in good condition but with only one hook as a fastening.
It was above freezing outside but at night it would have been minus one or two degrees. The wind was cold and ice had formed on the spreaders. When the crewmember was going to change the point of attachment he needed to move the hook, and so he undid the harness. Suddenly the ice deposit on the spreader he was standing on gave way. He slipped and fell eight metres down onto the deck, where he suffered fractures of the pelvis and lower leg. The Transport Agency wants to draw attention to the risks of working at height because it may result in serious injury. Onboard ships you need to work in compliance with documented procedures to prevent accidents.
Fall risks must be assessed in the context of systematic work environment activities. Personal protective equipment, CE marked and adapted to the work in question, must be used. A fall arrest harness with two attachment points, so that one could be loosened at a time, could probably have prevented the accident. The work was carried out in conditions where there was a risk of ice formation, which probably increased the risk of slipping considerably.
SFu journal no. 6:05:02 2011-0148