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IOGP: Squeezed hand due to unintentional activation of winch

What happened

IOGP has published Safety Alert #336 relating to a squeezed hand due to the unintentional activation of a winch.  A crane operator stood by a control panel to operate the mooring winch. On the level below was an auxiliary winch connected to a rope that was hanging over the railing. By mistake, the crane operator activated the lever for the auxiliary winch, and a crewman on the level below saw the rope connected to the auxiliary winch move. He thought the rope was slipping over the railing and grabbed it. At the same time, the crane operator pulled further on the aux winch lever, which resulted in the crewman’s hand being pulled in and squeezed between the railing and the structure.

Crane operator operating the winch
Injured person standing by railing on level below control panel with auxiliary winch in foreground

What went wrong?

  • Poor design: the design of the workplace made it challenging for the crane operator to keep an eye on the control panel while operating the winch;
  • The risk of unintentional operation of the winch was not identified, and the injured person’s role in the work operation was not sufficiently described in the procedure;
  • The injured person lacked part of the required training and did not know that the auxiliary winch could be operated from the control panel.

Lessons learned

  • Improve design of workplace to design out risks;
  • Disconnect redundant levers;
  • Ensure crew are properly trained and competent for the  task at hand;
  • Ensure the risk of unintentional driving of the winch is captured in risk assessment, toolbox talk etc.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 14 July 2022
Download: IMCA SF 17/22

Relevant life-saving rules:
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