What happened?

Since the beginning of 2018, the Norwegian Maritime Authority has registered 31 fall-related incidents on board Norwegian vessels. As many as 16 of these incidents have resulted in absence from work totalling more than 72 hours for the injured party.

Two of the incidents involved falls from a distance of 2.5 metres and 3.5 metres, respectively. It was by sheer coincidence and luck that none of these incidents led to more serious injuries and even fatalities.

The NMA has also recorded an incident where a person who was working at height on a platform took a false step. As a result, this person partially fell into the ladder opening. This happened because the work platform opening was not secured to prevent workers from falling.

Information from submitted reports:

  • When arriving at port, the person concerned was climbing up from the car deck to the mooring deck. Walking from the ladder to the mooring deck, he stepped on the boat-hook and slipped on it. He lost control and fell approximately 2.5 metres down on the car deck. No resignation.
  • The person concerned was climbing up a ladder to get on top of a container to fasten hooks for a crane lift. Reaching the final ladder step, the ladder slipped away, and the person concerned fell down on the deck. This resulted in a fracture injury.
  • The ship was moored at port, and the crew members had just finished a boat drill. When the drill was over, the able seafarer climbed up the ladder to secure the boats. Nearly at the top, the able seafarer lost hold of the grip and fell approximately 3.5 metres on the deck of the boat. This resulted in a fractured wrist.
  • The deck crew were occupied with vessel cleaning activities on the upper deck above the wheel house. A moment's inattention caused a crew member to step into the ladder gap. The crew member fell forward, hitting his ribs and shoulder. Another able seafarer reacted quickly and was able to reach him before falling any further, and helped him to his feet.


In most cases, fall incidents are caused by lack of attention of the person concerned. However, there may be underlying causes.

Such causes could be lack of order and tidiness, no or insufficient securing of openings on deck and lack of securing during climbing and work at a height.

It is too easy to say that the incident was caused by a lack of attention of the person concerned, and that there is no need not take any actions to prevent this from happening again.

A risk assessment must be carried out during work operations on board. If there is a risk of fall incidents, measures must be taken to reduce the risk and/or consequences of falling.

Such measures may be physical barriers to secure openings, fall prevention equipment or general order and tidiness on board.


Regulations of 1 January 2005 No. 8 on the working environment, health and safety of persons working on board ship regarding

Section 2-2 Risk assessment and Annex 1 Provisions on the use of work equipment for temporary work at a height