A crewman suffered a crushed finger during an operation to replace a winch wire on a large crane. Two crew members were installing a wire wedge into the eye of the wire in order to prevent the wire coming loose from the winch drum. They held the wedge in place by hand whilst other crew tightened the wire. Unfortunately, the wedge – which weighed 15kg – fell. The crew were unable to support the weight of it and one person had his right hand crushed between the wedge and the deck. He was taken to the on-board clinic immediately. The on-board doctor treated him for injuries to his forefinger and middle finger.
What went wrong? What were the causes?
Our member noted the following:
- There was no proper holding point on the wedge;
- Workers’ gloves were contaminated by the wire grease during operation making them slippery;
- When the wedge fell, one person attempted to hold or stop it’s fall, but failed due to the 15kg weight;
- The operation was not conducted in the safest or easiest manner.
What lessons were learned?
A better technique would have been to rotate the drum until the wire eye was upward. Then the wedge could be laid on the eye, and the wire tightened up until the wedge was suitably secured.
Members may wish to review the following incidents (both hand injuries caused by unplanned falling of heavy objects during repair or maintenance):
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