Deck crew were lifting a full 200l (40 gallon) drum of Oceanic HW 443 (ethylene glycol) with the crane using a cargo strap drum lifter. As the drum was being lifted over some deck equipment it slipped out of the span set type drum lifter and dropped approx 6m to the deck. No one was in the area under the drum when it slipped out. The top of the plastic drum split and 40-45l of the fluid within spilled on to the deck. Shipboard oil pollution emergency plan (SOPEP) equipment was deployed and the spill contained to the immediate vicinity. No fluid was lost overboard.
IMCA does not have details of the risk assessments, lift plans or toolbox talks, all of which could have identified the potential hazards, but the member’s further investigation revealed that the following factors were contributory to the incident:
- Poor choice of drum lifting device – a barrel span set lifting strop designed for lifting metal drums was used to lift a plastic one with sides that curved in slightly towards the lid which allowed the drum to slip out of the strop;
- There was a change in the lift plan without a reassessment of hazards;
- Lack of knowledge of the correct applications for this type of drum lifting gear.
Members are recommended to ensure that personnel are fully capable of identifying and using the correct drum lifting equipment.
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