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Finger injury: pinch point

A member has reported an incident in which someone suffered a finger injury whilst working on a hatch. The incident occurred when a crewman was working on deck, and needed to lift an escape hatch cover to the machinery spaces. He raised the hatch cover using one of the fitted handles, but was unaware of a pinch point created between the handle and an upright pipe behind – his finger was caught in this pinch point, causing an injury to the fingertip.

Our member’s investigation reported the following:

  • The handle was fitted in a manner that caused it to come into contact with the pipe when the hatch was opened;
  • No-one had observed this pinch point, or highlighted potential injury risks presented;
  • Because of a lack of observation or reporting of the pinch point, no warning signs had been placed.

Our member took the following actions:

  • The injured person received immediate first aid on-board and was then sent to hospital for medical check-up;
  • The hatch handle was moved to a new location (seephoto), therefore removing the pinch point and associated hazards.

The following important lessons were learnt:

  • Even when conducting ‘routine’ tasks, or tasks which appear to be low risk, remain aware of all safety impacts and potential hazards;
  • When modifying or moving existing equipment, or adding new equipment or fittings, ensure that this work does not actively create new hazards, such as pinch points, obstructions or tripping hazards. If there are concerns that such planned works could create hazards, these concerns should be raised with the appropriate authority;
  • If you observe any potential hazards created within the work space, these should be recorded using safety observation and effective corrective action should be taken to reduce the risks;
  • When an incident occurs, it is essential to take quick, effective corrective actions to avoid the incident happening again – this was done in this case, and the vessel crew have completely removed the hazards by moving the handle.

Members may wish to refer to the following incident (search words: pinch):

Safety Event

Published: 5 February 2016
Download: IMCA SF 04/16

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