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High potential dropped object near miss: Object fell from cargo

What happened

The Marine Safety Forum (MSF) reports an incident in which a piece of grating weighing 17kg fell from a load. It fell 6-7m to deck. Crew were on deck but not nearby. There were no injuries or environmental impact.

The incident occurred when the rig’s starboard crane was tasked with repositioning a cargo tank on the aft deck of the vessel, so it could be secured more effectively before vessel departure. Whilst manoeuvring the lift, a piece of grating from the top of the tank fell from 6-7m to deck. Two deck crew were around 15m forward of where the object landed.

The incident was considered to have high potential. A 17kg object falling 6m and hitting someone would be a potential fatality.

What went wrong/causes

The tank frame has grating sections on the top of the unit to allow crew to get to the hatch on the top. The centre sections of grating hinge to allow the hatch to be opened. The outer sections of the grating are intended to be fixed in place with four bolts and butterfly clips.

On subsequent investigation in port it was found that only one clip was correctly fitted on one side grating and all four clips appeared slack on the side from which the grating fell. One of the clips was also bent.

Lessons learnt/actions taken

  • Instructions were given to the tank vendor to ensure checks are made to the securing arrangements on all their cargo units;
  • The MSF has issued this safety alert to warn all other suppliers, vendors, logistics service providers, road transport companies, vessel and installation crews of the dangers of unsecured loose objects on cargo units and the potential for dropped objects. Loading and discharging cargo in an offshore environment is very dynamic often with significant vessel and crane hook motion which may sometimes lead to the cargo unit colliding with other containers or structures, leading to potentially dislodging loose items;
  • This incident aptly demonstrates the importance of vessel and installation crews staying well clear of suspended crane lifts at all times where there is a potential for falling objects.

See for the original MSF Safety Alert

Members may wish to refer to the following similar incidents:

Safety Event

Published: 20 October 2017
Download: IMCA SF 26/17

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