Skip to content

Finger/hand injuries

The International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) has published two recent safety flashes regarding finger and hand injuries, which will be of interest to IMCA member’s.

Incident 1 – finger severed

A crewman was in the process of unlocking a blow-out preventer (BOP) ram. The employee decided to place his finger into a sight opening slot to make sure the locking screw was completely out. Another member of the crew engaged the ram control valve whilst the first person’s finger was still in the slot resulting in his left index finger being severed.


  • There was no isolation, lock out or tag out to prevent this from happening;
  • There was no apparen’t understanding or communication between the injured person and the operator of the ram control valve.

Corrective action: A temporary guard was manufactured and placed over the BOP ram shaft bonnet to prevent crew placing their fingers into the shaft compartment.


Incident 2 – Finger pinch injury leads to LTI

A crewman was requested to assist on a cargo handling operation from the main deck. The task was to connect the crane hook to the slings of a pup joint bundle. The bundle was to be sent over to a platform with the use of the crane. When the crewman, who was working on his own, signalled to the crane operator to pick up the load, movement of the rig allowed the bundle of pup joints to sway in his direction and he pinched his right hand between two joints, fracturing two fingers in the process.


  • Standing too close to the load as it was hoisting;
  • Using a team member who was not originally part of the task;
  • Failure to use taglines and/or push poles to control the load;
  • Failure to follow the correct rigging and lifting techniques by using only one man for the job;
  • Failing to think about the risks involved;
  • Not utilising the stop work authority.

Corrective actions:

  • No job is so important that we cannot take the time to do it safely;
  • Job hazard analysis for the task should have been completed and discussed with all crew involved;
  • Crew should stand clear of load while hoisted and using proper taglines and handling tools;
  • Supervisors need to understand and manage situational changes;
  • Use safety interventions such as Step back 5 x 5 and the stop work authority when required;
  • Time to be taken to have correct amount of people to do the job at all times.


Members should be aware that IMCA publishes a series of pocket safety prompt cards, including Watch your hands.

Safety Event

Published: 28 August 2015
Download: IMCA SF 12/15

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.