LTI: Loss of fingertip and nail

What happened?

While crew were moving lashing materials (chains, shackles and turnbuckles) from the garage deck into a storage space, the bosun suffered a serious finger injury.  The incident occurred as part of routine housekeeping activity on a vessel at anchor.  The bosun was in the storage space putting equipment into storage bins.  These bins were under shelves in a limited space.  Suddenly, the turnbuckle slipped on the bosun’s finger while he was placing the turnbuckle in the storage bin.  The thread of the turnbuckle hit his finger. He took off his gloves, to find that his middle finger tip was missing and it was found inside his glove.

The bosun was sent to hospital for treatment; after 5 days he was sent to home where he could recover.

                                           (re-enactment)

What were the causes? What went wrong?

None of the crew saw exactly what happened. The crew member helping the bosun just turned around to get another turnbuckle. The crew noted afterward that there was nothing different than normal – this was a routine task, no rush, just easy clearing of the lashing materials from the garage deck.

It was noted that there was limited storage for handling the turnbuckles, and the device slipped on the bosun’s finger. More job preparation – removing the bin from the shelves using a pallet truck – might have helped but this was not done as the the storage bin, which was very heavy, was left in place.

Actions taken & lessons learned?

  • Moved the storage bins under the shelves to a better location;
  • Devised procedure to eliminate manual handling of the turnbuckles.