Crush injury to hand while attempting to secure crane hook

What happened?

While attempting to secure a crane hook to the deck handrail with a polypropylene rope, a rigger’s right hand was caught between the hook shank and the handrail.  He sustained a severe crush injury to hand and wrist, which required medical evacuation and multiple surgery.

The task involved moving the auxiliary block (weight: 26Te) of the main crane to a location on deck where it could be handled for rigging purposes.  The team decided to secure the block to the handrail.  The auxiliary block was banked into a position above the deck, before being lowered and slewed left to touch the hand railing.  Once the block was looking steady, the rigger moved in to secure the hook to the hand railing with a polypropylene rope.  This brought his right hand, which was now behind the shank, in the line of fire of the hook, which slowly moved towards the railing due to vessel rolling motion.  His hand was then entrapped between the handrail and the hook shank.  At the time of the incident environmental conditions were marginal but within operating limits.

What went wrong?

  • The method chosen to stabilise the hook was not correctly evaluated or safely engineered and the hook was still moving; this placed the rigger in the line of fire.
  • The crane block was not sufficiently stabilised;
  • The rigger moved in to secure the block before a clear signal was given from the Banksman;
  • The banksman did not stop or call back the rigger when he approached the load prior to clear signal.

What actions were taken?

  • Ensure all high-risk sub-activities are risk assessed prior to start of work;
  • Ensure that loads are stabilised before starting to work on them;
  • Ensure rigging team members comply with their roles and responsibilities.

What lessons were learnt?

  • Risk management:
    • ensure that all high-risk activities are risk assessed and properly controlled. In particular, generic worksite task risk assessments should be reviewed, to evaluate if relevant sub-activities are adequately assessed
    • stop the job if you believe a job cannot be executed safely – do not assume that others will do so;
  • Team performance:
    • ensure all team members understand their roles and responsibilities
    • follow the instructions you have been given
    • exercise the authority that you have been given.

IMCA publishes a wide range of safety promotional material which is applicable in this instance, including videos, pocket cards and safety posters.