Skip to content

Finger injury caused by falling wire wedge

What happened?

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):

Safety Event

Published: 27 July 2018
Download: IMCA SF 16/18

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

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.