Personnel were standing in line of fire during recovery of a Back-Fill Plough when a chain sling failed, and the rigging recoiled across the deck. A tugger wire connected to a tow wire and chain sling, unexpectedly came under tension, the chain sling failed, and the rigging recoiled.
The incident occurred when a technical fault in the plough made it necessary to recover it to deck. The deck foreman requested the tugger wire operator to provide adequate tugger wire slack, which was then provided. The intention was to haul the tugger wire up the deck with the main winch.
This intention was not clearly communicated to, nor was it understood by, the tugger winch operator or the deck crew. The tension on the chain sling rapidly increased, it failed, and the released rigging recoiled and narrowly missed the personnel in line of fire. The chain sling contacted a deck plate which dissipated much of the energy.
What went wrong
- There was no opportunity taken to have a time-out to discuss the change in task plans when moving from the launch of the plough to its recovery;
- There were inconsistencies between shifts, and inadequate documentation, between marine crew and project personnel, of who exactly was responsible for deck operations;
- The change in the “standard” practice of manually pulling the tugger wire up the deck was not communicated to all parties involved, and the consequence of the change was neither evaluated nor understood;
- There was a failure to follow the risk assessment which required a “Clear Deck Policy” when using tuggers and spooling with personnel positioned in a safe zone.
- Ensure a toolbox talk (TBT) is conducted when moving from one task plan to another so that all parties involved in the operation are aware of their roles and responsibilities;
- Supervise compliance with approved procedures or perform a Management of Change process before making any deviations from a procedure;
- Reinforce the need for clear, concise communication and always confirming everyone understands the next activity;
- Ensure personnel are fully aware of the risks from being in the line of fire of wires or chains under tension and that they are clear on the safe areas they must remain within. This should be a key part of the TBT.
Members may wish to refer to:
- LTI Incident – Crew Struck by Cargo During Lifting Operations [crane operator did not follow the instructions of the vessel lifting team; injured crew member was in the line of fire; vessel cargo plan not followed; no-one thought to stop the job]
- MSF: Cargo Snagging [Action: Reinforce the need for good communication between vessel and platform crew during lifting operations, particularly in relation to ‘stop the job’]
- High potential stored energy incident: inner buoyancy module clamp failure during removal
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