Wrapped cargo slipped during loading and fell

What happened?

A large load weighing over six tonnes was dropped during loading operations.  The item was a hot air duct.  The centre of gravity (COG) of the load and the lifting points were marked on the tarpaulin wrapping the load and this information was used during the lift.  The hot air duct was slightly tilted when lifted but within margins, and loading was continued.  Although one person called STOP, this was immediately overruled by a supervisor.  When the load was approximately 1.5m above deck and under the control of taglines from the riggers, the lifting sling slid towards the centre of gravity and one side of the load bounced on the deck, while the load was still hanging in the rigging.  The rigging was not damaged or broken.

The damaged hot air duct was sent ashore again for repairs.  No-one was harmed or injured.

What went wrong?

The centre of gravity of the load and lifting markings were wrongly marked on the tarpaulin, resulting in the sling sliding during loading towards the centre of gravity and thus one side of the air duct bouncing onto the deck.

What were the causes?

Our member noted the following points:

  • Wrongly marked COG and lifting points;
  • The lift was considered by crew as an engineered lift due to marked COG and lifting points on the tarpaulin;
  • Saddles were loose due to poor construction;
  • No clear communication – it was unclear who was in charge of the operation; too many people interfered with the lift;
  • ‘Stop work authority’ was not followed, and no risk assessment/evaluation was made after the STOP call;
  • The tarpaulin didn’t give any friction to the sling or the rigging.

What actions were taken?

  • Take care with supplied COG or lifting markings;
  • Reiterate/discuss the standard operating procedure, and who will be in charge;
  • ‘Stop work authority’ to be reinforced/explained by senior management.