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Lost time injury (LTI): Finger injury – watertight sliding door

A member has reported an incident in which someone got his finger caught in a watertight sliding door, leading to a serious injury. Third party subcontractor personnel were on board a vessel to assist during a sea passage. When they joined the vessel, and before they started work, these personnel received a full vessel induction and safety familiarization, in line with company procedures.

In the early morning hours of the following day, one of the subcontractors was passing through the watertight sliding door in the tunnel space. While the door was still moving open (with about 5-6 cm left to its final open position) the individual attempted to pass through the door. During this process, he placed his left hand on the doorpost. As he was passing through the door, the little finger of his left hand got caught between the doorpost and the opening face when the door slid into its final position.

Owing to the nature of the injury, the vessel had to be diverted to arrange for a medical evacuation. However, despite the best of medical efforts, the little finger of the injured person had to be amputated.

Our member’s investigation revealed the following:

  • Operating instructions and cautions were in place in the vicinity of the watertight door;
  • Audio and visual alarms were in good working order;
  • The injured person had been fully briefed beforehand with regard to the proper use of watertight sliding doors.

The immediate cause of the incident was that the injured person made an improper effort to save time – whilst passing the watertight sliding door, he supported himself by placing his left hand on the still moving sliding door, which then trapped his finger.

Our member notes:

  • Whilst sliding watertight doors are equipment which is very familiar to all seafarers, the operation of watertight doors needs to be carried out with the utmost care and attention;
  • Undue haste can lead to taking shortcuts which in turn can result in injuries. As can be seen in this incident, the consequences of incorrect conduct with watertight doors can be severe;
  • Familiarization training received should be followed and put to good use;
  • This incident was highlighted to vessel crew and subcontractors, to reiterate for all who need to use the watertight doors, that they are fully familiar with their operation.
Position of the hand with little finger in the pinch area
Position of the hand with little finger in the pinch area
Watertight sliding door in the fully 'open' position (red arrow indicating the pinch area)
Watertight sliding door in the fully ‘open’ position (red arrow indicating the pinch area)

Members may wish to refer to the following incidents (search words: door):

Safety Event

Published: 15 January 2016
Download: IMCA SF 02/16

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