Obstruction of emergency doors and hatches

Obstruction of emergency doors and hatches

What did the reporters tell us?

Two cases have been reported to CHIRP recently. In the first instance the supply door of a mechanical fan for a galley was found obstructed by wooden boards. The second report concerned an elevator’s emergency exit to the open deck being obstructed from the outside due to the incorrect positioning of a locking pin.

The lessons to be learnt

In the first case, the obstruction could have prevented the closing of ventilation doors/flaps in the event of a fire. Additionally, there was reduced air intake when the fan was in use. This is a case of housekeeping and general safety awareness. Was this complacency or carelessness? All ventilation fans/flaps should be identified and marked; colour coding is a good method of doing this.

The purpose of the emergency exit of the elevator is to provide means of escape for people in the elevator in case of emergency. The exit door should never be obstructed in any way.

CHIRP Suggests

The CHIRP Maritime Advisory Board emphasised that escape from an elevator should only be considered in an emergency. It also highlighted the occurrence of fatalities in connection with elevators, and the importance of taut procedures for use and maintenance, for example the locking out of all decks when an elevator is out of service. An incident report from the Nautical Institute Marine Accident Reporting Programme (MARS) 2015-55 refers: http://www.nautinst.org/en/forums/mars/mars-2015.cfm/201555