Seaman fell from ‘unsafe’ platform and died in River Clyde

Stanislaw Bania died in December 2010 while working aboard a general cargo vessel in Glasgow.

Seaman fell from ‘unsafe’ platform and died in River Clyde Website

A seaman fell off a ship’s ‘inherently unsafe’ crane platform into the River Clyde and died in the freezing water.

Stanislaw Bania, 58, lost his life in December 2010 while he was working aboard a general cargo vessel called Joanna owned by Joanna Shipping Limited.

Mr Bania, an experienced seaman from Poland, had been climbing up to a crane platform used to move the 30-year-old vessel’s hatch covers.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court was told Mr Bania and a colleague were told to close the hatches after cargo was unloaded.

The covers required a crane to move them and Mr Bania’s colleague was in control of it.

Mr Bania was to assist by climbing up a platform on the opposite end of the ship which was berthed at the King George V docks.

The probe heard the colleague called for Mr Bania but there was no response.

Sheriff Alayne Swanson said: “He saw the deceased face down in the water one or two metres from the vessel’s hull.

“No one saw the deceased fall from the vessel.”

Mr Bania’s body was unable to be retrieved until 25 minutes after mercy crews arrived due to the height of the quay and his body build.

The hearing was told Mr Bania’s loss of consciousness was “rapid” and he was motionless in the water.

The findings also stated: “The water temperature was very cold as was the air temperature. The deck was icy in places.

“Another crew member who went into the water as part of the attempt to rescue the deceased had freezing hands and numb legs within minutes.”

A post mortem revealed that ‘cold water immersion’ was the cause of death.

It was also revealed that the alcohol in Mr Bania’s blood was 193 milligrams per 100 millilitres.

It was reported that nobody witnessed Mr Bania drinking before the incident nor was his state of sobriety questioned.

The findings said: “The sheriff considered that the level of alcohol in the blood is unlikely to be a contributor given the unsafe working practices.”

A maritime expert investigated the incident and determined there was a “considerable risk of a slip or fall” when accessing the platforms which was exacerbated when the surfaces were wet or icy.

It was also revealed there was no risk assessment carried out for the vessel and there was no evidence of an alcohol or drugs policy.

He further stated the platforms on the end of the cranes were “inherently unsafe and exposed the crew to the risk of falling from a height.”

The hearing was told a policy has now been implemented and operations have been reviewed for the opening and closing of hatches.

Risk assessments and written procedures for crane operations have also been provided as has lifejackets and safety harnesses.

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