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No harness led to crewman's fatal fall

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 30/11/2016 Sean Martin

<span style="font-size:13px;">The crew of a ship from which a deckhand fell 10m to his death in Tauranga regularly worked without safety harnesses, investigators say.</span> © Getty Images The crew of a ship from which a deckhand fell 10m to his death in Tauranga regularly worked without safety harnesses, investigators say. The crew on cargo ship from which a deckhand plummeted to his death in Tauranga regularly worked without safety harnesses, investigators say.

The cadet - a Chinese crewman - fell 10m from the deck on the Mount Hikurangi at Port of Tauranga in February while putting chains on logs being shipped.

His didn't survive the fall and his body was recovered by divers a few hours later.

A report released by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission on Thursday has found the crew regularly ignored safety protocols about wearing safety harnesses while working at heights.

It found the crewman had been trying to put chains on logs the ship was transporting, when he lost balance and fell overboard, hitting his head on the wharf 10m below, before falling into the water.

Video footage showed he let go of a beam he was holding onto for safety as he tried to put a chain on.

"Once the deck cadet lost his balance, there was nothing to prevent his falling," the commission said.

"The key safety issues discussed include the fact that the deck cadet was not wearing a safety harness and, more importantly, that none of the crew routinely used safety harnesses, despite their being a requirement under the ship's safety management system."

It found none of the crew were wearing harnesses on the day of the death and said the culture of unsafe practices was never questioned.

The ship's operator and Maritime New Zealand had since taken actions to address the safety issues, the commission said.

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