Injury caused by movement of wire rope under tension

A member has reported an incident in which someone was injured by an anchor wire that skidded off unexpectedly off a flatbed trailer. The incident occurred on a beach during cable installation operations, when personnel were connecting midline buoys to an anchor wire. The injured person sustained a broken foot but the incident had the potential to be a fatality.

Scene of incident
Scene of incident

Our member’s investigation revealed one of the root causes was lack of knowledge of what was happening at the worksite: persons involved were not aware of the fact that tension is still in a wire even when hanging slack and lying on the beach for a considerable length (700 meters).

The lesson learnt is that it is in the nature of a wire rope that there will always be stored or residual energy in a length of it. This introduces a range of potential safety issues including manual handling and unexpected release of energy when handling the wire ropes. These issues should be taken into account in job planning, tool box talk and risk assessment before the start of the job.