Skip to content

Lost time incident (LTI): Laceration to finger

A member has reported an incident in which a crewman on a dive support vessel suffered a serious laceration to one of the fingers of his left hand. The incident occurred when deck crew were engaged in opening the aft bell moon pool door prior to diving operations.

During this operation, it was normal practice for a member of the deck crew to use his foot to hold open the spring-loaded retaining hook for the aft bell moon pool door. However, after three failed attempts to hold the retaining hook with his foot, a crewman decided to use his hand instead. Whilst doing this, the hook slipped and the injured person’s hand was caught between the hook and the edge of the moon pool door. One of the fingers on the injured person’s hand was badly cut as a result. The location and depth of the laceration was such that it had to be treated ashore to minimise risk of infection. The injury was X-rayed and redressed and the injured person was away from work for a week.

Spring-loaded latch operated by foot
Spring-loaded latch operated by foot
Fingers were trapped here
Fingers were trapped here
Rope tail in use (making manual handling unnecessary)
Rope tail in use (making manual handling unnecessary)

An investigation revealed the following:

  • The immediate cause of the incident was that the securing hook was too stiff to be held open by foot;
  • The root cause was that the old spring had recently been changed out and a new one fitted to the securing hook, which made it too stiff to operate. The potential problems this change introduced were not noticed, highlighted or addressed before operations restarted.

The following action was taken:

  • The hook was modified to remove the need for hands to be in close proximity of the locking clamp. A hole was drilled in the clamp and rope attached to facilitate safe operation. Future operators will pull to release the hatch to open, thereby encouraging a hands free approach.

Safety Event

Published: 25 January 2012
Download: IMCA SF 01/12

IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

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.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

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.