Lifting operation resulting in dropped objects from flexible intermediate bulk container

What happened?

Multiple metal objects were dropped during a lifting operation using a flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC).  It was being used to lift garbage from a below deck stores area.  The lift crew were unaware that several metal components ranging from 1.1kg – 2.3kg had been placed into the FIBC and then inadvertently covered over with cardboard and paper.

As the FIBC came through the hatch and over the main deck, high winds forced the FIBC into contact with the crane boom resulting in a shock load to the bag and the bottom tearing open.  The lift supervisor called an all stop on the radio; however, this was not heard by the crane driver which then resulted in the contents being dropped across the deck and quayside.

The distance that the objects fell varied between 8 and 25 meters.  The DROPS calculations indicate that multiple items had the potential to cause a fatality.

The job was stopped and a time out for safety carried out.

Type of FIBC used for lifting operation
Type of engine components which fell

What actions were taken?

Our member’s investigation noted the following:

  • Inspect FIBCs’ prior to use ensuring they are free from damage that can compromise its strength;
  • Post signage next to any FIBC being used as a waste container indicating waste material type to be placed inside;
  • Check FIBC contents (where practical) to ensure correct waste type is inside prior to lifting;
  • Lift FIBC as per the manufacturer and supplier’s instructions;
  • Consider the use of tag lines to control lifts where practical;
  • Do not re-use FIBCs or use them for disposal of waste metals, wood, glass or other items than can puncture the bag;
  • Ensure the vessel has the appropriate storage containers for scrap metal;
  • Ensure that suitable lift baskets are available for the transportation or movement of loose items, such as metals, batteries etc.