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Lost time injury (LTI): Serious hand injury during subsea lifting operations

A member has reported an incident in which a diver injured his hand during subsea lifting operations. A diver was about to pull a 4m round sling (20 ton SWL) through a master link. While he was hanging the two-headed sling eyes on the corresponding hang-off point, his right hand thumb and index finger were sandwiched between the sling and hang-off point, resulting in a crush injury. The diver reported this to the dive supervisor immediately, and the supervisor arranged for emergency recovery of the injured diver. After he was recovered to surface, he received emergency medical treatment before being evacuated ashore by helicopter.

Injured hand
Injured hand
Illustration of the right hand position holding the sling (simulated)
Illustration of the right hand position holding the sling (simulated)

The company’s investigation revealed the following:

  • The hang-off point was relatively short, approximately 13cm (see figure above right), while the diameter of the sling was 6cm, and the thickness of the two-headed sling eyes was 12cm;
  • The sling had a tendency to come off the hook under the influence of wave surge;
  • The moment the diver finished and left the area to wait for the lifting operation, the sling became unhooked, resulting in it being necessary for him to return and repeat the operation several times;
  • After repeating the operation several times, the diver became irritable and grasped the sling in an incorrect way, putting himself in danger, resulting in the injury;
  • The diver was working in the splash zone; the swell made it very difficult for him to control himself. The diver had reported that his bailout cylinder and helmet frequently hit the underwater structure.
Hook-off point in splash zone
Hook-off point in splash zone
Diagram of revised operation procedure
Diagram of revised operation procedure

Following safety stand-down, medical evacuation of injured person and appropriate discussion of the incident, the company took the following actions:

  • Banded the 4m x 20Te SWL round sling and created plan to use two tail ropes to pull the round sling, avoiding the occurrence of unhook;
  • Ensured all the divers understood about the change in work procedures.

Safety Event

Published: 11 December 2012
Download: IMCA SF 13/12

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