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Control of sub-contractor personnel: Unplanned and uncertified lifting operations

A member has reported a near miss incident in which sub-contractors’ lifting operations had to be stopped due to several unsafe conditions. Sub-contractors were found using uncertified lifting equipment, and lifting slings were being used over sharp edges of vessel frames. Work was stopped by shore-based staff visiting the vessel.

It was found that:

  • The crew and the sub-contractor personnel were unaware that they were engaged in potentially dangerous and inappropriate lifting practices;
  • The sub-contractor had conducted no planning or pre-job inspection;
  • Such risk assessment as had taken place, failed to consider all hazards, including the uncertified equipment and unsuitable position of lifting slings;
  • The sub-contractor’s supervisor was not present when the operation started;
  • Vessel crew failed to verify safety of job planning and certification of equipment when issuing the permit to work (PTW);
  • Vessel crew and contractors failed to exercise the stop work policy when work was conducted in an unsafe manner.

Our member took the following actions:

  • Stopped the job, held discussion with sub-contractor personnel and vessel crew;
  • After management review, fabricated and welded on a pad eye to facilitate safe lifting activities

The following lessons were identified:

  • Proper task risk assessment should be conducted at the planning and implementation stages to ensure that all potential hazards are identified and all necessary and required safety precautions are put in place;
  • All equipment used for lifting operations should be properly certified and suitable;
  • All lifting equipment should be inspected before and after use, and certification status should be confirmed accordingly, before issue of PTW;
  • There should be appropriate control of sub-contractor’s personnel. If there is direct management control of the operations of a sub-contractor, or if contractor management has a ‘prevailing influence’ over the operations of sub-contractors, then the responsibility for safety generally remains with the contractor.

Members may wish to refer to the following similar incidents (search words: control, sub-contractor, strop):

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