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Old 16-01-2021, 07:21   #1
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On Deck Hazards

We start a lot of threads on PFDs, lifelines, jacklines, and MOB recovery. But what about stuff that just gets people hurt.

  • Slippery hatches.
  • Junk lashed on deck.
  • Tripping hazards.
What to watch out for? What would a safety specialist notice?
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:31   #2
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Re: On Deck Hazards

The deck of a sailboat is a series of OSHA violations! Pinch hazards, slip hazards, trip hazards, and let’s not even talk about the BOOM!
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:32   #3
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Re: On Deck Hazards

Slippery or not, hatches are a trip hazard. In my mind, ideally the hatch placement and deck layout should be such that you don't need to walk on or over a hatch, but instead go around them.



Handholds that force you to bend to reach them are another issue for me. If I'm bending over to hold on, my balance and ability to see what's going on, place my feet carefully, etc. is all reduced.
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:39   #4
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Toe breaking deck cleats are my pet hate.. as for cabin top grab rails.. I prefer going forward on the Lee side as opposed to the popular 'head for the high ground' tendency..
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:41   #5
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Re: On Deck Hazards

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Toe breaking deck cleats are my pet hate

That's a good one. Put the damn cleats out on the rail where they belong. Out of the way of my feet and no need for chocks (chafe).
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Old 16-01-2021, 07:54   #6
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Re: On Deck Hazards

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
We start a lot of threads on PFDs, lifelines, jacklines, and MOB recovery. But what about stuff that just gets people hurt.

  • Slippery hatches.
  • Junk lashed on deck.
  • Tripping hazards.
What to watch out for? What would a safety specialist notice?
The BOOM, the BOOM and the BOOM. I'll bet this kills and seriously injures more sailors than falling overboard. In fact, almost all MOB situations I _personally_ know of started with a boom strike. The closest I ever came to having a student seriously injured was having someone furling the main sail on a condomaran swept off the upper "deck" by a bouncing boom.

Anchor chain: coming or going. Stay clear.

Winches, especially electrically powered ones. Failing "ON" can be fatal. An emergency STOP button near the cockpit is a great idea.

Turning blocks. If they fail under load with someone in the turn of the line it can get very ugly. Don't sit there!

I guess, technically, mast climbing doesn't count as an on-deck hazard, until you hit the deck. Most people are careless and cavalier about this--even many pros.

Fingers, hands, feet, etc, in the bight of a running line. Be careful.

Crush injuries between the hull and docks or rafting boats. Humans make very messy fenders.

Strongly stubbed toes on cleats or other obstructions. Seriously break a toe and going overboard is not at all unlikely. Wear shoes.
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Old 16-01-2021, 08:11   #7
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Re: On Deck Hazards

The biggest common hazard is going forward barefooted, your toes will be appreciative it if you put on your Keen sandals... also wearing a baseball style cap will restrict your field of view especially when one tips ones head downward even a little.

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Old 16-01-2021, 20:51   #8
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Re: On Deck Hazards

Running sheets. "Mainsheet men hop on one leg."


Tiller or wheel if backing.


Open companionway slider. Obvious, but people fall down them.


Secure all cushions on the up-hill side. They slide.
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Old 16-01-2021, 23:03   #9
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Re: On Deck Hazards

I'm most concerned with toe stubbing items since I'm often barefoot on deck. Fortunately my boat doesn't have a lot of deck equipment that's trying to rip my toes off but I've certainly seen plenty of it on other boats.
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Old 16-01-2021, 23:53   #10
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Re: On Deck Hazards

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Running sheets. "Mainsheet men hop on one leg."


Tiller or wheel if backing.


Open companionway slider. Obvious, but people fall down them.


Secure all cushions on the up-hill side. They slide.


Companionway slider...... the worst injury I’ve had onboard was when I neglected to close the companionway slider and while tidying up the main sail step into the opening. Luckily I caught myself from falling through and managed to rip a groin muscle pretty severely. It put me out of commission for a few weeks.

As for cushions..... I’ve had guests on more than one occasion hook the transmission shifter with the dangling loops on type IV flotation cushions (fortunately never while the engine was on).
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Old 17-01-2021, 07:32   #11
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Re: On Deck Hazards

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Tiller or wheel if backing.

Or on autopilot, assuming non-hydraulic steering.
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Old 20-01-2021, 11:08   #12
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Re: On Deck Hazards

Those jib sheet travelers on each side are nasty
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Old 20-01-2021, 12:31   #13
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Re: On Deck Hazards

Clutter on deck.

Anything unrestrained. In fact the heavier it is, the more dangerous it is IMHO and often more frequently dismissed. Coolers on power boats. People think because it's tough to move it won't start sliding like a loose cannon in heavy seas. once it starts moving, it's equally as difficult to stop.

Lines lying around on deck. loose lines are trip hazzards and can fall in the water and foul a prop.

In general I don't like having to step over or on anything. Maybe it's a habit from fishing. You should be able to shuffle your feet on deck. One foot in the air is one less contact point with the boat. Nobody is well balanced on one foot.

Fenders. It's convenient to lay them on the deck, but they roll, bounce and you then need to step over or around them. If they're not deployed, they should be lashed to rails or stored.

In general, everything should have a place, be lashed or properly stored. It makes it easier to move, safer, and honestly, it just looks neat and tidy.
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