Unsafe lifting operations – potential dropped object

What happened?

The Marine Safety Forum (MSF) has published Safety Alert 19-15 relating to a potential dropped object during unsafe lifting operations.  An observation was recorded during a routine vessel crane lifting operation.  The lift was a pallet laden with chemical drums being lifted from the quayside onto the vessel using webbing slings.  The only method of securing was plastic film and the lift was not lifting levelly.

  • Significant potential existed for this lift to fail, resulting in the load falling from height;
  • Slings are not considered a suitable method for lifting pallets by crane. Pallets have no safe working load (SWL) and are not designed to be lifted by crane with slings;
  • Using slings to lift pallets can result in failure of the pallet structure, resulting in loss of loads.

What actions were taken?

The MSF suggests that:

  • As a minimum, pallets should be secured with cargo nets to prevent loss of containment and dropped objects. Cargo nets are only to contain the load and prevent dropped objects; however, nets will not prevent structural pallet damage from sling lifts;
  • Consideration should be given to the use of approved attachments (such as crane fork attachments) for the safe lifting of pallets by crane.