Injury sustained during manual handling of sharp object

What happened?

A crew member injured his leg while moving a mud agitator with unprotected blades.  At the time of incident, the vessel was proceeding to port.  First aid was administered immediately on-board, followed by further examination and treatment of the wound at a clinic onshore.  The injured person returned to the vessel on the same day.


What went wrong?  What were the causes?

  • There was inadequate risk awareness – risks could have been reduced by protecting the blades before lifting/handling the agitator; waiting until the vessel reached port could also have reduced manual handling risks;
  • Manual handling practice could have been improved – while the agitator was suspended by chain blocks during the work, whilst gripping the blades using pieces of rags (rather than wearing gloves), the load slipped from his hands and hit the crew members’ leg. A rope or another hands-off approach could have been used to turn/move/stabilise the load.

What actions were taken?  What lessons were learned?

  • Better risk awareness when moving objects with blades or sharp edges:
    • protect the sharp edges
    • arrange lifting and moving of load without actual manual handling – ropes, tag lines etc
    • wait until more personnel are available and/or vessel is in port (as appropriate)
    • use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) – gloves.