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Safety Flashes – summary of 2018

This is a summary of the Safety Flash incidents reported during 2018, highlighting some trends worthy of note and one or two matters of interest.

IMCA published 136 incidents in 29 Safety Flashes during 2018.  116 incidents were reported by IMCA members during 2018.  The remainder of the incidents published came from government bodies, regulators and trade associations, including the Marine Safety Forum (MSF).  IMCA works closely with other industry bodies and regulators to ensure that appropriate incidents are passed on and lessons learned are circulated to members.

We continue to encourage all IMCA members to contribute their incidents to the IMCA Safety Flash system. This is an important way to influence industry safety awareness by actively taking part.  It is worth reminding members that IMCA will work closely with contributors to ensure the strict anonymity and appropriateness of all published Safety Flash material.  Nothing is published without clear permission from the contributor.


One member reported a fatality, which occurred during diving operations.

Lost Time Injuries

Members reported six lost time injuries (LTIs).  Four of these involved slips, trips and falls:

Two further LTIs were “line of fire” related:

Trends and causes

We will start to make use of the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) “life-saving rules” as a guide or a template to review or categorise IMCA Safety Flash incidents in terms of possible causes.  That is, we shall look at incidents and ask the question, ‘which was the main life-saving rule NOT followed that led to this incident happening?’

The IOGP “life-saving rules” are:

  1. Bypassing Safety Controls;
  2. Confined Space;
  3. Driving;
  4. Energy Isolation;
  5. Hot Work;
  6. Line of Fire;
    6a. Dropped/falling objects;
  7. Safe Mechanical Lifting;
  8. Work Authorization;
  9. Working at Height.

As will be seen above, IMCA will further qualify the sixth life-saving rule, the rule dealing with line of fire, as it includes dropped/falling objects.  These we will put into a separate category, as dropped/falling objects remain a significant cause of injury in our industry.

Cause expressed as “Life-saving rule not followed”Percentage
1.  Bypassing Safety Controls24%
4.  Energy Isolation23%
6.  Line of Fire19%
6a. Dropped/falling objects15%
7.  Safe Mechanical Lifting13%
3.  Driving (persons hit by vehicles)4%
5. Hot work1%
8.  Work Authorization1%

There are a number of trends that should be highlighted, and a number of issues that should not be neglected even if there are relatively few incidents relating to them.  These are:

  • 10% of incidents reported were “near misses” – positive reporting of near misses and unsafe situations that were corrected before an incident occurred, is to be encouraged;
  • In 10% of incidents, equipment failure was an immediate cause;
  • In 7% of incidents, our people suffered hand or finger injuries;
  • In eight incidents, there were fires. Of particular interest to members will be:
    • two laundry fires
    • three fires relating to the inappropriate management of Lithium-Ion batteries;
  • In three incidents, injuries were sustained by persons transferring from one vessel to another whilst offshore.

The 2018 Safety Flashes

A full list of the Safety Flash incidents of 2018 – including those from other organisations which IMCA has passed on to members is available at

A summary of Safety Flash incidents not otherwise published

IMCA is grateful for all submissions of safety incidents for inclusion in Safety Flashes.  However, thirty incidents received by IMCA from members were not published.  In general, the reasons for their exclusion are as follows:

  • Insufficient lessons learned or impact value to members, through lack of information supplied, lack of photographs or images, or lack of appropriate conclusions;
  • No approval response from the submitting IMCA member after several attempts over eight weeks;
  • Incidents not published because the submitting IMCA member opted to withhold permission to publish owing to changing local circumstances;
  • Other incidents being reported at the same time having greater priority in terms of lessons learned.

The broad safety issues covered in the unpublished incidents are summarised here, in order of frequency of topic:

  • Mooring or anchor handling incidents (5);
  • Lifting incidents (4);
  • Relating to small boats or life-boats (3);
  • Dropped objects (3);
  • Seamanship (3);
  • Hand/finger injuries (2);
  • Also:
    • near miss: sat diving carried out with unmarked umbilical
    • failures when incorrectly closing out planned maintenance tasks
    • fake BOSIET certificate
    • neck corrosion in gas bottles
    • zipper adhesive failure impacting immersion suits
    • injury on ROV LARS step
    • rig hose ruptured during pumping of oil
    • fire in a store – ceiling fan
    • tyre damage caused by helideck lighting
    • equipment failure ok – gas release from valve plug.
IMCA Contact

Nicholas Hough
Consultant - Safety and Security

Information Note Details

Published date: 9 January 2019
Information note ID: 1425


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