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Crewman struck by dropped object

A member has reported a high potential incident in which a crewman was struck by a dropped object. The incident occurred when the crewman was ascending a ladder to reach the access/egress of a scaffold platform, and he was struck on his right arm by a dropped object. After the object struck the person it fell down under the scaffold platform. The person looked up and saw another crewman standing on the scaffold platform receiving a bucket with scaffolding materials from further above. The bucket was being lowered on a rope from a windlass room.

The crewman descended the ladder to investigate the object that had struck him and found that it was a swivel coupler (scaffold material). He ‘stopped the job’, informed a nearby foreman, and asked other crewmen working in the vicinity of the tank if they had witnessed the incident; unfortunately no one saw exactly what happened, and therefore the origin of the dropped swivel is unknown. The foreman made a fresh visual risk assessment of the scene which included proper housekeeping (swivels stored on the boards next to gate/access) and discussion of the potential consequences of dropped objects. The importance of using correct lifting equipment (in this case, soft scaffolding lift sacks) rather than buckets was reinforced.

The crewman reported to the medic for a medical check-up which revealed no injuries.

Showing worksite at time of incident
Showing worksite at time of incident
Swivel coupler
Swivel coupler
Illustrating buckets (wrong) and soft-sided sacks (better) for lifting
Illustrating buckets (wrong) and soft-sided sacks (better) for lifting

Our member’s investigation revealed the following:

  • The origin of the swivel could have been: – A swivel fell from the bucket – A swivel laying on the scaffold board fell. (Possibly kicked but unlikely due to kick plate and gate) – While emptying the bucket a swivel bounced and fell;
  • Direct cause:
    • Improper lifting, handling or storage -improper lifting equipment was used to transport the scaffolding materials down (buckets attached to approximately 20 metre rope)
    • Poor housekeeping -some swivels were left behind next to the access gate near the ladder;
  • Root cause:
    • Improper handling of materials -lowering scaffold materials (approximately 20m) down from height with buckets attached to a rope
    • Improper storage of materials -The temporary stored swivel couplers were stored too close to the ladder access/entrance of the platform.

Members may also find useful information from

Members may wish to refer to the following similar incident (key words: dropped, bucket)

Members’ attention is drawn to the following IMCA material which may be of assistance:

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