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Finger Injury while setting up pipe cutting operation

What happened?

A crew member was setting up a pipe cutting machine in a vertical position to cut welding that was done on a jumper for repair, when they suffered a finger injury. The crew member opened a supply valve on an air caddy with his left hand, while his right hand was on a scaffold tube supporting the equipment, and suddenly the equipment moved.  The crew member got their right middle finger trapped in between the scaffolding tube and the lower part of the cutting machine protruding part.

What went wrong

One of three valves in the machine was found to be defective during post-incident simulation. Company standing instructions required that the machine be turned manually during the setup validation or readiness check (to confirm its proper setup before energizing it). This was not done.

The crew member intended to perform a setup validation check by energizing the equipment. He closed the Inlet valve (V2 in photo), and then must have opened the Supply valve (V1 in photo) to perform the check. Due to the fault on the inlet valve (V2), as the Supply valve (V1) was opened, the inlet valve (V2) allowed air to pass and energized the machine causing it to rotate. As the machine rotated, it trapped his finger that was placed on the scaffold tubes.

At the time of event the injured person was on the working platform alone.

What was the cause

Our member’s view is that there were two causes:

  • The method of work did not follow the standard procedure;
  • The injured person put his hand in an unsafe place.

Lessons and actions

  • Don’t take short-cuts – equipment operating procedures and manuals are thee for a purpose and should be followed;
  • Check that you – all of you – is out of the Line of fire. Always ensure body parts are kept away from moving or rotating parts;
  • Our member:
    • Improved toolbox talks to increased awareness of unsafe positioning in this cutting operation and other tasks;
    • Refreshed training in the use of this equipment for the operators;
    • Improved procedures to make the task safer;
    • Developed and implemented pre‐use checklist to cover inspection of cutting machine and accessories (air supply hoses and valves).

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 12 September 2023
Download: IMCA SF 22/23

Relevant life-saving rules:
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