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Deliberate failure to follow instructions: unsafe/quarantined tools brought back into use

What happened?

During a routine vessel inspection, crew were observed using a grinder with a selector switch as opposed to a paddle switch, which was contrary to procedures and communication from previous incidents and safety bulletins.

What were the causes? What went wrong?

  • Upon investigation, it was discovered that the vessel had the approved (paddle switch) grinders on board, but they were seen as being too bulky for the job; the crew removed the old grinder (smaller size) from the quarantine box and put it back into use.
  • On inspection of the quarantine box, it was noticed that there was no manner of securing the box in order to prevent someone from accessing quarantined equipment.
  • Inadequate supervision, to ensure equipment designated inappropriate does not re-enter service – crew members deliberately used equipment that had been taken out of service.


  • Devices in “quarantine” should be rendered temporarily unusable or put strictly under lock and key;
  • A hazard hunt was carried out to ensure that selector switch grinders were no longer in use.

Related Resources

Members may wish to refer to the following incidents. They are at first appearance dissimilar to the above – but they are all as a result of deliberate failure to follow instructions or procedures. In one case a written warning followed.

Safety Event

Published: 28 September 2020
Download: IMCA SF 28/20

Relevant life-saving rules:
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