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Hand injury caused when worker tripped over hazard

A worker was injured after falling over a bundle of hose and electrical cables which he had to walk over in order to reach his working area. As he stepped over this trip hazard, he was alerted by his supervisor to a further hazard from an open hatch and told to approach his working area by a safer route. The worker turned around and, as he did so, stepped on to the hose and electrical cable and subsequently slipped and fell. In the attempt to break his fall with both arms stretched out, he sustained an injury to his left hand.

The worker received first aid on site and through subsequent X-rays it was discovered that his hand was fractured.

Trip hazard
Trip hazard
Worker tripping over hazard (re-enactment)
Worker tripping over hazard (re-enactment)

The following immediate causes were identified:

  • unsafe working environment;
  • complacency;
  • unsafe body position;
  • inadequate planning (equipment placed so as to leave trip hazard across thoroughfare).

It was noted that putting up signs and making hazards more visible is no guarantee for preventing accidents. Personal awareness of all hazards in the work place is absolutely required. In this instance it was not practical to remove the trip hazard and crew members were advised that extreme caution was required and that, where possible, they should minimise movement through the area.

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