Dropped object from crane

What happened?

A composite block forming the end stop topping of a crane fell 20m from the crane to deck.  The incident occurred after a Suez Canal transit, when it had been necessary to use the crane to lift a small boat into and out of the water.  After clearing the canal, the crane had to be secured for sea.  While slewing to the right, the composite block (end stop topping) fell from the top of the crane (a height of 20 m).  A number of crew members were within 4m of where it landed.  No-one was injured.

Rust forming
Stopper in place
Stopper missing
Rust on plate
Dropped object

What went wrong?  What were the causes?

Investigation revealed that the composite block was only glued instead of drilled and fastened to the crane.  Rust came in between the steel plate of the crane and the composite block, which loosened it and caused it to fall off.

The root causes identified were:

  • Material failure;
  • Inadequate design;
  • Inadequate maintenance.

An inspection was made of the aft crane, where a similar gap was observed between the steel plate and the composite block.

What actions were taken?

Our member required the following fleet-wide actions:

  • Check your own cranes for loose or potentially loose objects and for rust and corrosion and consider engineered solutions to any potential problems identified;
  • Consider the area immediately around the crane to be a potential dropped object zone;
  • Conduct a fresh dropped object survey on the vessel.

Our member contacted the crane supplier for advice and subsequently published an internal maintenance bulletin on this topic.

IMCA notes: this incident illustrates the need to continue to pay careful attention to crane maintenance and to the clear risk of parts falling from the crane itself, in addition to managing the risk of objects falling from the load.

Safety Flashes can be searched effectively; rather than draw members attention to just three or four recent incidents involved parts falling off cranes, please browse our safety flash search to see a wider list of incidents involving dropped objects from cranes.