Crushed finger

A member has reported an incident during a dive support vessel transit from port to an offshore location, a diver sustained an injury to two fingers of his left hand.

The diver was in the aft transfer lock and was holding a chamber door open to allow a colleague to transit between the chamber and transfer lock. When holding the door open, another door in the aft transfer lock swung open, trapping the diver’s fingers between the two doors.

At the time of the incident, weather conditions winds were between force 7 and 8. The vessel was pitching and rolling heavily.

The diver received first aid inside the chamber from his colleagues.

The diver was subsequently decompressed and the vessel returned to port.

On arrival in port the injured person was taken out of the dive chambers and transferred to a hyperbaric facility for further treatment and ‘bend’ watch.

The diver sustained crush injuries to his fingers, as well as the removal of both finger nails.

After investigation, the immediate cause of the injury was attributed to uncontrolled opening of chamber door, trapping and crushing diver’s fingers between the two doors (refer to above schematic), with underlying causes as follows:

  • Door spring tension was not enough to hold against uncontrolled door movement;
  • No hooks were used; no door dampers were in place;
  • No risk assessment had been carried out for the chamber with regard to a rough weather transit;
  • The chamber door design and securing arrangement for chamber doors were poor;
  • Chamber doors are heavy and cumbersome;
  • Safety observation should have heightened diver awareness of hazards in chambers.

Members are reminded that they should consider the following:

  • Carry out a risk assessment on all chamber door systems for potential uncontrolled movements;
  • Test and set latching devices, particularly spring loaded latching devices, to an optimal tension for safety and ease of use;
  • Be aware of the inherent dangers associated with operation and transit during bad weather;
  • Adhere to diving chamber transit procedures.