7. Operations afloat
7.1. General provisions
1. This part of the code applies to operations that are
carried out solely on board ships. Chapter 6 applies to oper-
ations that take place both on ships and on shore.
2. All portworkers, including supervisors, on board
ships should be fully trained and competent. This is essen-
tial, given that more accidents involve portworkers working
on board ships than at any other location in ports.
3. All port operations on board ships should be carried
out in accordance with safe systems of work. These should
be drawn up following identification of the hazards, assess-
ment of the risks and development of measures to control
4. Experience has also shown that regular inspections
and reports on the condition of ships will help to reduce the
number of shipboard accidents involving portworkers. If
deficiencies affecting the safety of portworkers persist on a
particular ship and are not corrected after more than one
voyage, a report may be made to the national competent
authority inspector or port state control officer.
5. It is the responsibility of the ship to provide con-
ditions on board in which port work can safely be carried
out. However, before starting to load or unload a ship, the
company responsible for the stevedoring work (the “steve-
dore”) should itself take steps to ensure that:
— there are safe means of access onto and about the ship
(see sections 7.2 and 7.3);
— a ship’s lifting appliances and lifting gear (if they are to
be used for cargo operations) are correctly certificated,
Safety and health in ports
and appear to be in good order and safe to use (see sec-
tions 4.2 and 5.1);
— suitable deck and under-deck lighting, with a minimum
level of 10 lux on access routes and 50 lux in working
areas, taking into account any specific need that may re-
quire additional lighting, is provided;
— slings around pre-slung cargo on a ship have been cer-
tificated and are in all respects safe to discharge the
— any lashing gear to be used is suitable, in a safe condition
and compatible with the cargo to be lashed.
6. If it is found that the provisions made by the ship are
not safe or do not comply with international legal require-
ments, the deficiencies should be reported to the ship’s mas-
ter or his/her representative, the ship owners and the shore-
side management. The stevedore should not allow work to
start until the deficiency has been corrected. Alternatively,
a shore-side provision may be made which remedies the
situation, for example:
— a shore-side gangway is provided;
— quay cranes or other shore-based lifting appliances are
used where possible;
— portable lighting is provided by the stevedore;
— stevedore slings are placed around the cargo.
7. A stevedore who proposes to handle cargo with ship’s
gear should verify that the gear is safe by checking certificates
and carrying out visual inspections before it is used.
8. Any shore-side appliances and gear used on board a
ship should fully comply with Chapters 4 and 5.
9. The same standards of housekeeping that apply on
shore should be applied to those parts of the ship used by
10. Any damage to the ship or its equipment that occurs
during cargo handling or other activities should be immedi-
ately reported to a responsible ship’s officer.
7.2. Access to ships
7.2.1. General requirements
1. Sufficient, safe and suitable means of access to the
ship should be available for the use of portworkers passing
to and from the ship. The means of access should be of
sound material and construction and adequate strength, be
securely installed and maintained in a good state of repair.
Means of access should, wherever possible, be constructed
in accordance with international standards.
2. The means of access from the quay to the ship’s deck
should be the ship’s accommodation ladder, whenever this
is reasonably practicable.
3. If the use of an accommodation ladder is not reason-
— a gangway may be used;
— when normal access equipment cannot be used owing to
the ship’s high freeboard,1 purpose-built shore-side
access equipment should be provided and used;
1For the purposes of this code, “freeboard” means the height above
water level of the deck used for access via the ladder when the access is
used for the first time.