Line of fire: cutting injury to index finger

Whilst using a safety knife to remove the outer sheaving from a core conductor, a crew member managed to cut his finger.  The safety knife slipped through the sheaving and resulted in a wound to the soft tissue of the fingerprint area of the left index finger, and a superficial laceration near the mid-point of his ring finger nail.

What went wrong?

The immediate cause identified was that the injured person had failed to recognise that he had placed himself in the line of fire.  He held the cable with his left hand and drew the knife (held in his right hand) towards himself.  It was at this point that the knife slipped through the sheaving and made contact with his left index finger and left ring finger.

Re-construction of the cutting activity
The injury received to index finger

What was the cause?

Additional underlying/root causes also identified by our member are listed below:

  • The risk assessment did not detail suitable control measures to ensure that people were not in the line of fire, nor did it specify the specific tools or PPE to carry out this task;
  • There had been no task risk assessment (TRA) directly before starting the job.

What actions were taken?  What lessons were learned?

  • ‘Engineer out’ potential line of fire injuries; in this instance, alternative tooling and technique to be utilised for the removal of outer sheaving from a core conductor;
  • Continue embedding the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) Life Saving Rules within the company processes and culture;
  • Risk assessment should be suitable and sufficient for the task to be performed, specifying the correct tool(s) and PPE; the correct PPE should be readily available and used.