Skip to content

Dropped object: Signage dropped from crane boom

A member has reported an incident in which a piece of metal fell from a crane boom. The incident occurred on a vessel whilst alongside during the testing of the luffing motors’ braking system on the main crane. During this testing the crane boom made an uncontrolled descent into its crutch, resulting in a 60 kg steel sign falling 15m down to the deck.

Investigation revealed that the sign was fixed by 4 x stitch welds, of which three were completely rusted away.

The following immediate actions were taken:

  • All Stop: The hydraulic tech contacted bridge and chief engineer to report the incident and stop associated operations;
  • Crew working nearby were asked to make safe any work and leave the job;
  • A dropped object inspection of the crane boom took place to search for further loose items;
  • A dropped object inspection on the starboard dock wall and fly jib platform was performed;
  • A formal investigation began.

Initial recommendations – subject to completion of investigation – were:

  • Review standard operating procedures for testing the brakes of the cranes;
  • Review the associated Permit to Work requirements (e.g. further consideration of what areas nearby should be barriered off);
  • Thorough inspection of all elements and parts of the crane (main, auxillary and signage) before further testing and use.

Members will be aware that in recent times there have been a number of incidents reported in which objects have fallen from the crane itself. This incident forms yet another timely reminder to redouble our efforts to check areas that might otherwise be overlooked in the search for potential dropped objects.

Members may wish to refer to the following incidents (search words: crane, dropped):

Members are also reminded of Guidelines for lifting operations.

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.