As a safety pro, you’ve probably contemplated this question: Are minimum government regulations enough to keep my employees and/or customers safe? It’s a question that probably should be asked in connection with the sinking of a tourist-filled duck boat in Philadelphia that killed two passengers.
The boat, with 35 passengers and two crew, stalled in the Delaware River after the vehicle caught fire.
As the boat was sitting in the river, waiting for help, it was struck by a barge being pushed by a tug boat. Two passengers drowned in the Delaware River.
Accounts from passengers say they had less than a minute to get life jackets on children. However, local media report that the duck boat was sitting powerless for 15 minutes before the collision occurred.
A Pennsylvania regulation requires children 12 and younger to wear life jackets on recreational vehicles. That rule doesn’t apply to the Ride the Duck tours.
For commercial vehicles, such as the duck boats, children don’t have to wear the life jackets. The company just has to have enough life vests on board for everyone.
Chris Edmonton, director of boating safety at the Boat US Foundation, said he assumed the duck boat captain would have asked the passengers to don their jackets once the vessel lost power.
“That’s what I would have done, but he is not legally required to have them do it,” Edmonton told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Questions remain about how much time the two crew members had to react once the duck’s engine failed.
So, how can you use this story in safety training?
The investigation into this case will surely look into how the two duck tour employees reacted when the engine unexpectedly failed.
Safety training for normal operating conditions is one thing. But how would your employees react to something unexpected?
Have you ever given workers a safety scenario during training and asked them how they’d handle it? Let us know in the Comments Box below.