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Leg injuries: knee injury, ankle injury (1), Ankle injury (2)

The following three incidents involving leg injuries have been reported by one of our members:

Knee injury

A rigger was working on the aft deck of the member’s vessel when rolling action of the ship caused him to lose his balance and trip over the support bracket for an umbilical roller guide. He fell heavily to the steel deck and landed on a raised steel pad (doubler pad) striking and subsequently severely injuring his left knee.

The conclusion of the onboard investigation was:

  • Timber deckboards associated with the area had been removed from the deck to facilitate mobilisation requirements, i.e. the additional roller guide and umbilical reel on the aft deck. Because of this removal, all strong points (doubler plates) stood some 10cm ‘proud’ of the deck;
  • Whilst lighting around the aft deck area was not particularly good it is unlikely that it directly contributed to the injury as the rigger stumbled into the obstruction due to ship motion.

The company involved has initiated the following actions:

  • Most timber deckboards have been reinstated, no strong points protrude above the top of the timber deck;
  • Lighting has been improved around the aft deck areas;
  • Additional slip, trip and falls talk has been given to personnel onboard and the issue will be re-iterated at subsequent vessel safety meetings.

Ankle injury

A diver working on deck was unloading the bell trunk of diving equipment on one of our members’ vessels. He stepped from the bell trolley to an H-beam but slipped off causing him to go over on his ankle severely spraining it. The H beam was wet and slippery, possibly due to the wet gear which he was carrying, but the non-slip pads on the beam were, in any case, clogged with grime and were worn.

The pads were immediately replaced by a coarser grade of non-slip pad more suitable to the environment.

Ankle injury

A sub-contracted inspection engineer was joining one the member’s vessel. He had come on board to report in and was returning to his car, when he tripped on a padeye close to the gangplank causing him to go over on his ankle. He was treated for a bad sprain at the local hospital (after checks were made by X-ray) and subsequently given light duties. Two days later his ankle was getting increasingly painful and there was also some breeding. He returned to hospital and a second X ray showed that a bone was broken below the ankle. His ankle was put in plaster.

The investigation concluded that:

  • The deck had been painted dark green recently and the pad eyes close to the gangplank area had not yet been highlighted in yellow, as was common practice onboard.
  • The ropes to attach the gangplank had not been attached to the gangplank and therefore again the padeyes had not been noticed.
  • The injured person had only arrived on board and was unfamiliar with the ship and had not had his safety induction highlighting such issues

The member company has initiated the following actions:

  • The two padeyes were immediately painted yellow to highlight their position.
  • Later the padeyes were relocated to a position closer to the handrail where they would not be a trip hazard
  • The injury served to remind personnel onboard of the need to be vigilant during housekeeping walks to notice hazards and take corrective actions immediately. The master has been actioned to ensure these area inspections take place on a fixed frequency.

The member involved has noted that all three of these trip injuries could be attributed to poor housekeeping and lack of vigilance in reporting unsafe conditions. The company has identified the following steps that can be taken to avoid such accidents:

  • Use of handrails when descending stairs;
  • Ensuring lighting is adequate;
  • Ensuring that oily patches or other spills are cleaned up immediately;
  • Ensuring there are no obstructions in walkways;
  • Ensuring vision is not obstructed or your balance is upset because of carrying items;
  • Ensuring wearing of correct safety footwear;
  • Remaining vigilant to everyday unsafe conditions.

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

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IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.