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High potential dropped object – Rigger struck by falling object

A member has reported an incident in which a crew member was struck by a falling object. The incident occurred during the recovery of a subsea plough; whilst spooling a 200m pennant onto the storage pocket of an anchor handling winch. The chain guide weighing 21kg dropped a distance of approximately 2m from the starboard chain motor area and struck a member of crew on the skip of his hard hat. It glanced off the front of the hat onto his chest and landed on the vessel deck. The person’s hard hat was dislodged and he suffered superficial injuries.

Chain guide
Chain guide
(L) missing chain guide (R) Chain guide in original location
(L) missing chain guide (R) Chain guide in original location
Position of the injured person and the place from which object fell
Position of the injured person and the place from which object fell

Our member’s investigation revealed the following:

  • The steel chain guide was part of the spooling mechanism (see photographs) and fell to the deck along with two sheared securing bolts;
  • One of the two bolts appeared to have fractured this and had the potential to cause misalignment of the chain guide, during normal operations. This misalignment appears to have caused the chain guide to catch on the chain, causing it to shear the second bolt and thus fall off;
  • The injured person should not have been in the area during this operation;
  • Using the ‘DROPS Calculator’ as a benchmark in the classification of the potential consequences of a dropped object, the outcome of this incident could have been a fatality.

Our member drew the following conclusions:

  • Access to hazardous areas should be properly controlled through effective planning, procedural controls and risk assessment of tasks;
  • The crew should maintain a continued focus on situational awareness and hazard perception in what may be considered ‘routine’ operations.

The following actions were taken:

  • The worksite was made secure, and other securing bolts within the winch house area were checked;
  • Planning and procedural control of tasks should consider the position of personnel and potential dangers as part of procedure development;
  • Vessel and onshore management to reiterate the need for personnel to remain clear of hazardous areas and equipment;
  • Ensure access points to all hazardous areas and equipment have adequate barriers and signage.

The following may also be of use to members –

The following resources may also be of use to members:

Safety Event

Published: 21 January 2014
Download: IMCA SF 01/14

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