HATCH COVER AND ACCESS LIDS
- Based on the findings of the risk assessment, appropriate control measures should be put into place to protect those workers whose health and safety may be put at risk by the operation of hatch covers and access lids.
- Any hatch covering used on a ship is to be of sound construction and material, of adequate strength for the purpose for which it is used, free from patent defect and properly maintained.
- A hatch covering is not to be used unless it can be removed and replaced, whether manually or with mechanical power, without endangering any person. Information showing the correct replacement position is to be clearly marked, except where hatch coverings are interchangeable or incapable of being incorrectly replaced.
- A hatch is not to be used unless the hatch covering has been completely removed, or if not completely removed, is properly secure.
- Before vessel departure, weather deck hatch covers should be secured in the correct closed position. Whilst the vessel is at sea they should be regularly inspected to ensure that integrity is being maintained.
- All hatch covers should be properly maintained. Defective or damaged covers should be replaced/repaired as soon as possible. All covers and beams should only be used if they are a good fit and overlap their end supports to an extent which is adequate but not excessive.
- All personnel involved with the handling and/or operation of hatch covers must be properly instructed in their handling and operation. All stages of opening or closing hatches should be supervised by a responsible person. When hatches are open, the area around the opening and in the hatchways should be appropriately illuminated and guard-rails erected. Guardrails should be tight with stanchions secured in position and properly maintained. No hatch cover should be replaced contrary to information showing the correct replacement position.
- Where lifting appliances are used, they should be attached to hatch covers from a safe position and without personnel being exposed to the danger of falling or being trapped.
- No loads should be placed over, nor work takes place on, any section of hatch cover unless it is known that the cover is properly secured and can safely support the load.
- Partly opened unguarded hatches should never be covered with tarpaulins; this would present a serious hazard for any person walking across the hatch.
- Hatch covers should not be used for any other purpose.
Mechanical hatch covers
- The manufacturer’s instructions for the safe operation, inspection, maintenance and repair of the type of mechanical hatch cover fitted should always be followed.
- During operations, personnel should keep clear of the hatches and the cover stowage positions. The area should be kept clear of all items which might foul the covers or the handling equipment.
- Special attention should be paid to the trim of the vessel when handling mechanical covers. The hatch locking pins or preventers of rolling hatch covers should not be removed until a check wire is fast to prevent premature rolling when the tracking is not horizontal.
- Hatch wheels should be kept greased and free from dirt and the coaming runways and the drainage channels kept clean. The rubber sealing joints should be properly secured and be in good condition so as to provide a proper weathertight seal.
- All locking and tightening devices should be secured in place on a closed hatch at all times when at sea. Securing cleats should be kept greased. Cleats, top wedges and other tightening devices should be checked regularly whilst at sea.
- Hatch covers should be properly secured immediately after closing or opening. They should be secured in the open position with chain preventers or by other suitable means. No one should climb on to any hatch cover unless it is properly secured.
- Except in the event of an emergency endangering health or safety, no person should operate a hatch covering which is power-operated or a ship’s ramp or a retractable car-deck unless authorised to do so by a responsible ship’s officer.
Non-mechanical hatch covers and beams
- Each non-mechanical hatchway should be provided with an appropriate number of properly fitting beams and hatch covers, pontoons or slab hatches adequately marked to show the correct replacement position, and with an adequate number of properly fitting tarpaulins, batten bars, side wedges and locking bars so that the hatch will remain secure and weathertight for all weather conditions.
- Unless hatches are fitted with coamings to a height of at least 760 mm (30 inches) they should be securely covered or fenced to a height of 1 metre (39 inches) when not in use for the passage of cargo.
- Manually handled hatch covers should be capable of being easily lifted by two people. Such hatch covers should be of adequate thickness and strength and provided with hand grips. Wooden hatch boards should be strengthened by steel bands at each end. One person should not attempt to handle hatch covers unaided unless the covers are designed for single-handed operation.
- Hatch boards, hatch beams, pontoon hatches, hatch slabs and tarpaulins should be handled with care and properly stowed, stacked and secured so as not to endanger or impede the normal running of the vessel. Hatch boards should be removed working from the centre towards the sides, and replaced from the sides towards the centre. Personnel hauling tarpaulins should walk forwards and NOT backwards so they can see where they are walking.
- A derrick or crane should be used to handle beams. Pontoons or slab hatches should be positioned directly over them to lessen the risk of violent swinging once the weight has been taken.
- Appropriate gear of adequate strength should be specially provided for the lifting of the beams, pontoons and slab hatches. Slings should be of adequate length, secured against accidental dislodgement while in use and fitted with control lanyards. The angle between arms of slings at the lifting point should not exceed 120°, in order to avoid undue stress. The winch or crane should be operated by a competent person under the direction of a ship’s officer or other experienced people.
- Beams and hatch covers remaining in position in a partly opened hatchway should be securely pinned, lashed, bolted or otherwise properly secured against accidental dislodgement.
- Hatch covers and beams should not be removed or replaced until a check has been made that all persons are out of the hold or clear of the hatchway. Immediately before beams are to be removed, a check should be made that pins or other locking devices have been freed.
- No one should walk out on a beam for any purpose.
- Hatch covers should not be used in the construction of deck or cargo stages or have loads placed on them liable to damage them. Loads should not be placed on hatch coverings without the authority of a ship’s officer.
Steel-hinged inspection/access lids
- Inspection/access hatch lids should be constructed of steel or similar material, and hinged so they can be easily and safely opened or closed. Those on weather decks should be seated on watertight rubber gaskets and secured weathertight by adequate dogs, side cleats or equivalent tightening devices.
- When not secured, inspection/access hatch lids should be capable of being easily and safely opened from above and, if practicable, from below.
- Adequate hand grips should be provided in accessible positions to lift inspection/access hatches by hand without straining or endangering personnel.
- Heavy or inaccessible hatch lids should be fitted with counterweights so that they can easily be opened by one or two persons. Where a counter-weight cannot be fitted due to inaccessibility, the hatch lids should be supplied with a purchase or pulley with eye-plates or ring bolts fitted in appropriate positions so that the hatch can be opened and closed without straining or endangering personnel.
- The hatch lids, when open, should be easily and safely secured against movement or accidental closing. Adequate steel hooks or other means should be provided.
Access to Holds/Cargo spaces
- Entry to holds/cargo spaces should only be undertaken on the authority of a responsible ships officer, who should ensure prior to granting authority that space has been adequately ventilated and, where appropriate, tested for noxious gases/oxygen content.
- The entry should be made where at all possible through the permanent means of access. Where this is not possible, portable ladders may be used. When necessary, lifelines and safety harness should be available and used.
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