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Hand injury sustained by diver

One of our members reports an accident wherein a diver sustained severe crush injuries to the fingers of his right hand. The diver was working in saturation at a depth of around 70 metres. The injury occurred whilst he was disconnecting a chain shackle (connected to a crane on a surface vessel) from a pipeline end manifold (PLEM) pile.

Whilst removing the shackle pin from one side of the PLEM pile with his hand was on the pad eye on the other side of the pile, there was an upward heave of the vessel. The chain connected to the vessel crane therefore tightened and the diver’s hand was trapped between the shackle and pad-eye, causing crush injuries on his fore, middle and ring fingers of his right hand.

On the advice of the diver medic, the diver’s wound was treated during decompression, which took four days. The wound was dressed at regular intervals and successfully kept uninfected until the diver could be hospitalised. In subsequent surgery, two injured fingers were saved, but part of the diver’s middle finger had to be amputated. The diver would be able to carry out normal diving activities in future and pursue a career in diving.

Diver's hand after injury
Diver’s hand after injury
Similar PLEM pile
Similar PLEM pile
Post surgery and top phalange amputation
Post surgery and top phalange amputation

The company’s investigation report noted that:

  • there had been proper co-ordination b etween the diver, diving supervisor, field engineer and crane operator;
  • the accident could have been averted had the diver better placed his hand to avoid the possibility of it being caught between the shackle and the pad-eye.

The company sent a safety alert to all its offshore sites highlighting the incident. Awareness of the potential for hand injuries was emphasised through toolbox meetings, presentations and discussion of the incident during safety inductions.

Safety Event

Published: 27 February 2006
Download: IMCA SF 02/06

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