Lost time injury (LTI): ankle injuries during loading operations

What happened?

An experienced AB suffered serious ankle injuries during offloading operations.  A vessel was delivering drill pipe casings to a jack-up rig when he was hit by the casing bundle being discharged.  The casing involved in the incident was being lifted when it was observed that the Tag Line was entangled in the sling.  The crane operator lowered the casing to around 1m above the vessel deck.  The AB was instructed by the Duty Officer to untangle the tag line.  Whilst he was doing this, the crane operator lowered the casing bundle without warning, causing it to swing towards the AB.  He was struck by the casing bundle, lost balance and fell onto the adjacent casings lying on the deck.  The movement of the crane did not stop, and the casing bundle was lowered further, coming to rest partly on the AB’s legs and partly on other casings on the main deck.

The Duty Officer immediately notified the crane operator to lift the casing and transfer it to a safe area.  The AB was carried from the main deck and shifted to the ships hospital for inspection and first aid.

Our member noted the following:

  • The incident occurred in daylight, good weather and calm seas;
  • The AB was experienced, wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) and was fresh on shift in the last hour and adequately rested;
  • The crane operator was approximately 35m above the vessel deck and had clear line of sight to the working area;
  • This incident occurred during the 13th lift of 29 loads. 12 bundles of casings had already been safely picked up by the rig using the same crane;
  • No inappropriate, unsafe or reckless use of crane by the operator was observed during these previous 12 lifts which might have warranted stoppage of operations.

What went wrong?  What were the causes

  • There was a lack of situational awareness/risk perception/risk awareness on the part of the crane operator of the rig;
  • There was inadequate communication or transfer of information and intent from the rig crane operator to the vessel.