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Fatality: person crushed when secured material fell on him

What happened

Stored metal plates fell on a crewman causing fatal injuries.  This incident has been shared with one of our members by a client company, and is public domain news. The incident does not involve an IMCA member. 

Third-party sub-contractors on a vessel were inspecting a sling that was wrapped around five metal plates. The plates were situated on two pieces of wood, positioned lengthwise on their edge and against a stanchion on the deck. The plates were secured to the stanchion by a ratchet strap.  One crewman was trying to access a sling that was wrapped around the plates, so he instructed his co-worker to loosen the ratchet strap.

When he gave the instruction, he was standing next to the plates. The co-worker followed the instruction and loosened the ratchet strap, which resulted in the plates falling toward the first person and pinning him against another storage rack on the riser deck. Several people ran to the scene immediately upon hearing calls for help, but the plates were too heavy for them to lift.

The incident is still under investigation.  Interim recommendations are:

  • Evaluate stored equipment and materials to minimize hazards related to stored energy and handling;
  • Discuss the importance of hazard identification in the task planning process and using Time Out for Safety to manage changes in the work environment.

IMCA notes: this was an absolutely preventable and foreseeable incident. Please take time out to inspect any similar storage arrangements at your sites and ensure adequate controls are in place to prevent the same event happening.

Please review the following:

Safety Event

Published: 17 March 2021
Download: IMCA SF 08/21

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
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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.

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