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Chapter 16


Injuries and accidents can seriously hamper unit operations. Therefore, every precaution should be taken to avoid injuries and accidents. An effective safety program must be established to accomplish this goal.


  16-1. Prevention of injuries and accidents must be the main goal of any unit commander. The safety program must be designed to impress unit personnel with the importance of constant vigilance in detecting potential hazards and promptly reducing or eliminating the hazard. The program must provide for training unit personnel in safe working practices peculiar to water transport operations. There should be a safety organization consisting of a unit safety officer and a safety committee. The safety committee should consist of platoon leaders and section chiefs responsible for supervising and coordinating all safety activities within the unit. This committee should meet at regular intervals to discuss measures for accidents, eliminating hazards, and improving safety practices. Further safety guidance is also given in FM 55-502.
  16-2. The unit commander is responsible for ensuring that all activities of the unit are conducted according to established safety rules. This includes determining causes of accidents and correcting situations to prevent recurring accidents. He must be aware of and enforce all safety regulations issued by higher HQ. When a deviation from an established safety rule is desired, the unit commander is responsible for requesting permission to deviate from the rule. This request, including full particulars and detailed plans and specifications, is submitted to the appropriate HQ. The unit commander must have his own safety rules and safety program. He cannot rely solely on programs of higher HQ to assure the safety of his personnel.
  16-3. Platoon leaders, section chiefs, and vessel masters daily directly supervise operating personnel. In their contacts with personnel on the job, they are in a position to personally witness the following:
  • Daily working conditions.
  • The potential hazards to which operating personnel are exposed.
  • How effectively accident prevention measures are applied.
  They should have frequent scheduled meetings to brief their personnel on safety procedures, ask for suggestions on improving safety practices, and publicize any newly adopted safety procedures. Such meetings should be held in the work area, and the agenda for such meetings should include the following:
  • Overall job and the end result expected.
  • Why, how, and when of the job and any ideas from the group concerning improvements of methods and procedures.
  • Parts to be played by each man. The supervisor must make sure that each man understands his assignment.
  • Existing and anticipated hazards and steps that should be taken to cope with these problems.
  • Need for prompt reporting of all injuries, accidents or near accidents, and the importance of first aid when such action is required.
  • Need for constant vigilance to detect and correct unsafe practices and conditions to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Need for conducting definite routine safety inspections.
  16-4. All personnel should realize that safety rules have been established for their protection and welfare. They must follow all instructions and use all safeguards incident to the use of tools, machinery, equipment, and processes. Cooperation between and among vessel operators, engineers, platoon leaders, and section chiefs in developing and practicing safe working habits is essential to prevent injuries to personnel and damage to material and facilities. An effective unit commander will strive to assure that this spirit of cooperation prevails in the unit.


  16-5. An effective safety program depends on proper application of the following principles of accident prevention.
  16-6. The emphasis on safety in water transport units must be vigorous, continuous, and instilled by the unit commander. The best safety program in existence will soon deteriorate unless every person in the unit keeps actively interested and willingly participates in the program. Interest in safety should be maintained by appealing to the pride of all unit personnel, pointing out the responsibilities they have to themselves and to the unit. Any suggestions on improving safety operations should be carefully considered. The individual making the suggestion should be given credit if the idea is adopted or an explanation given if the suggestion is impractical. Supervisory personnel should develop an awareness of the effect of accidents on efficiency and productivity.
  16-7. Pertinent facts surrounding each accident or injury should be reported. In addition to accidents, near accidents must also be reported along with all available information so that any hazards and unsafe procedures or conditions can be eliminated. Any procedure or condition, which might cause a threat to safety, should also be reported so that it can be corrected. Some individuals are accident-prone. If experience indicates that the same individual is repeatedly an accident victim, that person should be placed in an assignment where he is least likely to endanger himself or others.


  16-8. Some of the elements that should be included in a water transport unit safety SOP are the designation of a safety officer and a safety committee. The SOP should also include their duties. It should also include emergency shipboard duties and procedures.
  16-9. A definite procedure for reporting accidents should be included in the safety SOP. No matter how slight, the procedure should emphasize promptness and completeness in reporting all accidents or injuries (see AR 385-40 for details). It should also contain procedures for reporting marine casualties. The safety SOP should also provide instructions for determining the cause through investigation of all injuries and accidents and specify procedures for corrective action to prevent recurrence.
  16-10. Landing craft operate under varied conditions and circumstances of climate, tide, current, and harbor limitations. Therefore, emergency procedures and shipboard drills must be included in the safety SOP so every crewman will be skilled in his duties to keep the craft afloat and prevent cargo from being damaged and fellow crewmen or passengers from injury or possible loss of life. The emergencies that would most commonly be considered are:
  • Fire.
  • Collision.
  • Man overboard.
  • Abandon ship.
  • Handling grounded watercraft.
  • Ground tackle and jury rigging.
  • Chemical, biological, and radiological defense measures.


  16-11. Most vessel operations, whether at the pier or beach or in the water, are hazardous. Water operations can be particularly dangerous due to adverse weather, operational task hazards, and enemy action. The vessel's efficiency may also be seriously curtailed by carelessness of a crewman who permits dangerous conditions to exist or fails to repair faulty equipment. The following special precautionary steps should be taken to prevent accidents.
  16-12. Most accidents aboard ship result from the following:
  • Falls.
  • Explosions.
  • Falling objects.
  • Faulty electrical equipment.
  • Lack of protection for the eyes.
  16-13. Safety rules that protect life and assure the safety of the vessel are of major importance to crewmen. During beaching operations, crew members must wear life jackets except when in the engine room or in the bridge house handling the wheel. They should be accomplished swimmers and qualified in lifesaving techniques. Anyone moving or standing on deck should watch his footing and be careful to avoid accidents. All lines on deck should be made up in such a manner that no one could get tangled in them or trip on them. Check the bilges regularly to make sure that the landing craft is not holed or taking on water through the hull connections. The presence of fuel or fuel fumes in bilges is also a sign of a potential fire hazard and must be checked immediately. When performing grinding, chipping, or scraping operations crewmen must wear clear, shatterproof safety goggles.
  16-14. Crew members must wear safety-sole deck shoes because water and oil combined on a deck can be more slippery than ice. Any oil spilled must be cleaned up right away. When working around machinery, crew members will not wear loose clothing. Loose clothing may get caught in the machinery. If sleeves are to be rolled up while working on machinery, they will be rolled up at least to the elbow.
  16-15. Lines should be whipped with sailmakers whippings. Back splices and other end rope knots may cause severe injury if run through the hand quickly. When handling wire rope and mooring lines, gloves will be worn to protect the hands. The cargo decks will be kept clear of unnecessary lines.
  16-16. Do not allow oil and grease spills to accumulate on decks. All spills should be wiped up as they occur. Bilges will be kept clean of oil and other POL products to reduce fire hazard. Use approved nonvolatile cleaning agents (not gasoline) for cleaning purposes. When fuel is being received on board; no bare lights, lighted cigarettes, or any electrical apparatus that has a tendency to spark should be permitted within 50 feet of an oil hose or fuel tank. Use only sparkproof tools to connect or disconnect fuel lines.
  16-17. Closed compartments must be well ventilated to reduce rust, corrosion, and mold damage. Musty odors indicate a lack of ventilation. Shelves should be neat, orderly, clearly marked, and secured for sea to prevent objects from falling. Gasoline, oil, paint, and other flammables will be stored only in approved locations and in containers authorized for this purpose. Oxygen and acetylene bottles must be stored separately from other flammables.
Fire Fighting Equipment
  16-18. Particular attention should be given to all the fire fighting and damage control gear aboard. The equipment must be serviceable and operational. The crew members must know the location and how to operate the equipment. Frequent inspections must be conducted to ensure that the equipment is operable.
Fire Prevention
  16-19. Post "No Smoking" signs wherever potential fire hazards exist. Smoking will be permitted only in designated areas.
  16-20. Special attention must be given to the proper loading, blocking, and securing of vehicles to be carried in landing craft. This is a responsibility of the vessel master. Cargo must be inspected prior to movement.
  16-21. Dropping or toppling of loads onto a lighter deck is to be avoided. Doing so will invite damage to the cargo and the lighter and can cause personnel injuries. For safe handling, slings should be properly lashed on damaged or palletized cargo.
  CAUTION: Be alert of bridle hooks, which may catch on your clothing or gear.
  16-22. Personnel must be warned never to stand beneath a draft of cargo or get between the draft of cargo and a bulkhead or other cargo. They must also be warned never to pull a cargo draft into position as they might slip and fall beneath the draft. The draft is always pushed into place.
  16-23. Crew members and terminal service personnel should watch for projections and loose banding of cargo, frayed wire, or cargo to be recoopered or rebanded before being loaded. Leaky drums will not be taken aboard as cargo.


  16-24. All piping and fittings in the engineering spaces of watercraft will be coded and marked in accordance with TB 43-0144. Post a legend by all entrances to engineering spaces, indicating what each color represents. Red generally represents emergency equipment and systems (such as fire fighting). Flow directions are indicated by use of arrows.


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