Passengers on the Carnival Ship Ecstasy were on their way to dinner when they passed a grisly scene – A crewmember who had been working on an elevator had been crushed to death. Here is the report on CNN. Warning: it shows a homemade video that is hard to watch.
Why did it happen? The incident is still under investigation, so that is not clear. However, what appears to be clear is that it could have been prevented with an effective lockout/tagout policy. There is a very good analysis of the problem here. The author lists other deaths involving elevators on vessels and points out a sign in the video, apparently put up after the death occurred that says, “Sorry, but I am not working at the moment.” As the author of the post puts it, “that is the image that should be burned into our memories because had the elevator been isolated and inoperable then 66-year old Italian crewmember Jose Sandoval Opazo may not have died in such horrific circumstances.”
While the focus is on elevator accidents on ships, the larger lesson is that lockout/tagout procedures are there for a reason and the moment we cut corners or bypass them, we are putting lives at risk.