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Hand injury

A member has reported an incident in which a crew member suffered a serious hand injury during lifting operations. In the course of at-sea loading and offloading of containerised units from the company’s larger vessel to another smaller third-party vessel, the crane operator had landed a gas cylinder rack on the deck of the other vessel when a crew member from the other vessel requested the banksman to lift the load to allow him to straighten up the rack.

Owing to the sea swell, when the gas cylinder rack was lifted, it moved suddenly towards an adjacent waste skip and the crew member trapped his right hand between the gas rack and the waste skip causing a serious injury to the hand. The crew member received first aid treatment and was later medevaced to shore for surgical treatment.

Deck layout on third-party vessel at time of incident
Deck layout on third-party vessel at time of incident
Position of crew member at time of incident
Position of crew member at time of incident (top arrow) position of crew member (bottom arrow) point of contact

Further investigation revealed the following basic causes:

  • The crew member was not warned by his colleagues that he was in an unsafe situation;
  • The crew member was in an improper or unsafe position for the task and did not follow established lifting procedures;
  • There was a lack of experience in cargo operations.

The following were considered contributory factors:

  • Poor sea conditions (sea state approximately 2m);
  • Congested deck owing to small size of vessel on which incident occurred.

The company recommended the following actions:

  • Crews on third-party supply vessels to be provided with appropriate instruction on proper lifting and handling working practice;
  • Ensure all personnel are aware that they can stop the job when unsafe acts or conditions are observed on third-party vessels;
  • Ensure proper selection of type/size of vessel for cargo operations;
  • Ensure better planning onshore and better organisation of deck space to minimise pinch points;
  • Ensure crew are fully aware of the danger of pinch points;
  • Ensure good communication between contractor vessel and third-party attending vessels during at-sea loading and unloading operations.

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