Worker Drowns While Boating Alone
Recommended Preventive Action
- Regulation 92-133 under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act requires employers who have an
employee working alone to establish a code of
practice for working alone. This code of practice
should be specific to the environment in which
the organization operates, and should consider
the hazards, time between communications, and
an emergency response plan.
- Train all employees in the code of practice.
Ensure approved life jackets are available, and that all employees wear them at all times when working on the water.
- Boats outfitted with motors greater than 115 horsepower should be equipped with hydraulic steering, to eliminate steering torque.
A ship’s captain with over 10 years experience was contracted to repair
equipment on a salmon cage site. This was done aside from his primary
employment, on what would be normal days off. The contracting employer
met with him before he left the dock. He was next seen working on the
equipment by a crew on a cage site nearby. He was seen leaving, but it was
not noted if he was wearing a life jacket. Later that day when his vehicle
was still on the dock and he had not been seen, the alert was sounded for
a missing person. The body was found more than two months later, without
a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD).
WorkSafeNB’s investigation revealed the following:
- The captain was an experienced ship handler, well aware of the waters in the area.
- It was normal practice to use a boat alone to visit cage sites within sight of each
other and the dock.
- The boat being used did not have hydraulic steering (any loss of control would
result in a rapid response, as opposed to having a dampened effect such as with
hydraulic steering units).
- There was no process of communication or notification should a long period of
time go by without hearing from the worker.
- There were PFDs stored on the vessel.