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Lacerated chin caused by flying wedge

An incident has been bought to the attention of IMCA, in which a worker received a laceration to the chin. A worker was removing a steel wedge from the frame of a crane track during disassembly. The wedge dislodged when struck by a sledge hammer and ricocheted against the frame before striking the worker. The worker was taken to an offsite facility for treatment where he received stitches. He was able to return to work without restrictions.

Investigation revealed the following:

  • The wedge was in a bind when it was struck;
  • The injured person was ‘in line of fire’ for the rebound of the wedge after it was struck by the sledge hammer;
  • The injured person was not wearing a face shield whilst removing the wedge;
  • Established procedures did not adequately recognise or cover the hazards for the task being performed.

The following lessons were noted:

  • The use of wedges for this process should be eliminated and the appropriate alternative tools used for pin alignment and removal;
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including face shields should be used for required wedge hammering, impacting and banding operations;
  • More detailed work plans were developed down to the task level, including specific PPE for each task, appropriate tools and body positioning.
Worksite and position of wedge
Worksite and position of wedge


Safety Event

Published: 15 December 2010
Download: IMCA SF 08/10

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