‘Significant hazards’ on the Floating Bridge were not adequately identified or controlled by the Isle of Wight Council ahead of an incident that saw a crew member airlifted to hospital – a report has revealed. 

As reported by Isle of Wight Radio, on the afternoon of September 26, a crew member was found, injured and unconscious, in the bridge’s engine room.

A heavily redacted report on the incident has been released following a Freedom of Information request.

It reveals a decision was taken to keep the bridge in service despite staff being unable to fix an oil leak on the hydraulic oil filter, and an engineer being unable to attend for three hours. 

Due to the redacted nature of the report, the details of what happened next, and how the crew member came to be injured, are unclear.

However, a second Freedom of Information request revealed the man was working on the hydraulic tank, then stepped over a hatchway towards the wheelspace. He then collapsed at the foot of the access ladder, holding his arms on his chest, before losing consciousness.

He suffered an injury to his neck, his knee and several cracked ribs.

He was ‘exposed to or came into contact with a harmful substance’, according to the second report which goes on to refer to ‘discrepancies’ between the accounts of floating bridge staff and managers at County Hall.

The report also found risk assessments failed to identify the significant hazards associated with engineering work on the bridge in sufficient detail, and failed to ensure the risks were sufficiently controlled.

Following the incident, all risk assessments associated with engineering work will be reviewed and updated.

Staff will now receive regular one-to-one sessions, as per council policy, and the council will carry out a well-being survey for staff.

Improved arrangements for lone working below decks will also be provided.

Megan Baynes, Local Democracy Reporter.