MSF: Near miss – potential dropped object during cargo operations

The Marine Safety Forum (MSF) has published Safety Alert 18-23, in which a 20ft basket was lifted during offshore cargo operations.  The bridge team were later informed by the installation crew that a yellow metal plate had been found trapped inside the forklift pocket of the basket; the plate was used to protect a potential trip hazard (stanchion mounting holes).

A detailed risk assessment had been in place and was used as the basis of the toolbox talk (TBT).  The following hazards were identified:

  • The use of covers for trip hazards was justified in removing the potential of a personal injury resulting from a trip – trip hazards marked or removed if possible;
  • Dropped objects were prevented by a pre-inspection of the container, prior to lifting, and the use of safe havens when any lift is suspended.

However, the control measures listed did not include pre-inspection of the deck; the control measure requiring a pre-inspection of the container failed as it did not identify the potential dropped object.  The MSF does note, however, that the ability to conduct a full, detailed inspection of a container prior to lifting deck can be impaired and may not always identify potential dropped objects.  This can be due to:

  • Weather conditions – water on deck may not allow a full check of fork pockets;
  • The orientation of a container against the vessel’s rail or other cargo may impair visibility of all areas that could harbour a potential dropped object.

What actions were taken?

  • The cover plate was replaced, and the trip hazard was removed.
  • Vessel crew were able to come up with a solution to prevent the plate from accidently being moved again – additional pins had been added which will hold the plate in place in the future (unless removed intentionally);
  • The vessel owner implemented preventative measures including:
    • update the risk assessment to include the addition of pre-work inspection of the deck as an additional control measure against the hazard of potential dropped objects
    • update 500m entry checklist – include a requirement for a positive report to the bridge that pre-work deck inspection has been completed
    • all safety officers to conduct an inspection of the vessel plate cover arrangements to determine if a similar hazard could occur – take preventative actions where required
    • conduct additional briefing for all deck crew surrounding lessons learned – particularly on the potential failure of the pre-lift check of the container and the new requirement for a pre-work deck inspection.

The MSF has issued the following instructions to vessels owners:

  • All crew should be made aware of MSF Safety Alert 18-23 – display on noticeboards, print copies for mess rooms and discuss all learning points and recommendations at the next onboard safety meeting;
  • Any applicable points should be actioned in order to reduce the likelihood of similar incidents occurring on another vessel.