Unsecured object fell and injured crewman

During ‘routine’ offshore operations, a piece of unsecured grillage stowed on deck toppled and struck a member of the deck crew on the foot. The impact was severe and caused multiple fractures to the metatarsal bones of his foot and serious lacerations. The injured crew member was medivaced to a local hospital where he is currently being treated.

At the time of the incident the weather was flat calm and the vessel was in transit. The deck crew was involved in setting up a rigging arrangement on the over-boarding chute whilst technicians were carrying out fault-finding on other equipment. Four members of the deck crew were on their way to collect rigging equipment from the rigging container. To reach the container the crew had to pass between a deck tugger winch and a heavy piece of grating which had been removed from the top of the equipment being investigated by the technicians. This piece of grating was stowed upright against the plough guards on deck.

Whilst passing between the tugger and the plough guard the grating was disturbed and fell, striking the foot of the injured party. The grating was fitted with fixing lugs, one of which severely impacted the foot, penetrating the safety boot and caused the injuries.

This incident occurred during ‘routine’ deck activities when the level of hazard awareness and attention to detail was perhaps not as high as it would be when the vessel was fully operational on project construction work. This highlights the need for the same level of awareness, attention to detail and communications during ‘routine’ work as there is during project construction operations.

The following points were noted:

  • The grating was an obvious obstruction and partly blocked a frequently used access route to storage and working areas;
  • It was left completely unsecured and incorrectly stowed;
  • Three people attempted to walk round the obstruction without identifying the potential hazard – the fourth became the injured party;
  • An obvious hazard went unchecked and subsequently caused an accident.