Safe Working Practices

10 Things Marin Engineers Must know About Safe Working 


Accidents are usually the result of carelessness, mistakes, lack of thought or care, and often result in injury. Consideration will now be given to avoiding accidents, largely by the adoption of safe working practices. Working clothes should be chosen with the job and its hazards in mind. They should fit fairly closely with no loose flaps, straps or ragged pockets. 

Clothing should cover as much of the body as possible and a stout pair of shoes should be worn. Neck chains, finger rings and wristwatches should not be worn, particularly in the vicinity of rotating machinery. Where particular hazards are present appropriate protection, such as goggles or ear muffs, should be worn. When overhauling machinery or equipment it must be effectively isolated from all sources of power. 

This may involve unplugging from an electrical circuit, the removal of fuses or the securing open of circuit breakers. Suction and discharge valves of pumps should be securely closed and the pump casing relieved of pressure. Special care should be taken with steam-operated or steam-using equipment to ensure no pressure build-up can occur. When lifting equipment during overhaul, screw-in eye bolts should be used where possible. 

These should be fully entered up to the collar and the threads on the eyebolt and in the equipment should be in good condition. Any lifting wires should be in good condition without broken strands or sharp edges. Before any work is done on the main engine, the turning gear should be engaged and a warning posted at the control position. 

Lubricating oil in the working area should be cleaned up and where necessary suitable staging erected. The turning gear should be made inoperative if not required during the overhaul. Where it is used, care must be taken to ensure ail personnel are clear before it is used. Where overhead work is necessary suitable staging should be provided and adequately lashed down. 

Staging planks should be examined before use and where suspect discarded. Where ladders are used for access they must be secured at either end. Personnel working on staging should take care with tools and store them in a container. Boiler blowbacks can cause serious injury and yet with care can usually be avoided. The furnace floor should be free of oil and burners regularly checked to ensure that they do not drip, particularly when not in use. 

The manufacturer's instructions should be followed with regard to lighting up procedures. Generally this will involve blowing through the furnace (purging) with air prior to lighting up. The fuel oil must be at the correct temperature and lit with a torch. If ignition does not immediately occur the oil should be turned off and purging repeated before a second attempt is made. 

The burner should be withdrawn and examined before it is lit. Entry into an enclosed space should only take place under certain specified conditions. An enclosed space, such as a duct keel, a double bottom tank, a cofferdam, boiler, etc. cannot be assumed to contain oxygen. 

Anyone requiring to enter such a space should only do so with the permission of a responsible officer. The space should be well ventilated before entry takes place and breathing apparatus taken along; it should be used if any discomfort or drowsiness is felt. Another person should remain at the entrance to summon assistance if necessary, and there should be a means of communication arranged between the person within the space and the attendant. 

Lifelines and harness should be available at the entrance to the space. The attendant should first raise the alarm where the occupant appears in danger but should not enter the space unless equipped with breathing apparatus. Training in the use of safety equipment and the conduct of rescues is essential for all personnel involved.

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