Skip to content

Fatality: Fall from height arising from a failure to use personal protective equipment

We have received the following incident report, involving a fall from height from an offshore platform.

A contractor was working on the skimmer level of an offshore platform, approximately 10½ metres above the water, to wrap a light fixture in preparation for sandblasting operations.

He had been told by his supervisor in their safety meeting to use a ‘spider’ (a lifting device), safety harness and work vest to get to the fixture, as it extended outward from the walkway. However, the contractor chose to lean out from the walkway and through the handrails, instead of using his PPE.

While attempting to wrap plastic around the light, the fixture broke off of its pedestal and the contractor, who had the majority of his weight shifted outward, fell, striking his head on the way down and entering the water unconscious. He was retrieved from the water, but never regained consciousness.

The company involved has reiterated the importance of never taking shortcuts and the need for job safety analyses and understanding of all of the potential hazards. It has circulated information on this incident to be included in all of its safety meetings and site orientations, to underline the consequences of taking shortcuts. It is also reviewing the fall protection section of its relevant handbook.

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.