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LTI: Finger injury during pilot ladder preparation

What happened?

An Ordinary Seaman was injured while rigging the pilot ladder during arrival in port. In preparation before rigging the ladder, a floodlight was being lowered by the crewman. He inadvertently dropped the light bracket while removing the locking pin, and it landed on his other hand, causing injury to the little finger.

What went wrong? What were the causes?

  • The immediate cause was found to be that the injured person was not in the right position. He misjudged the situation and used an improper technique to adjust the floodlight. He tried to catch the bracket arm from falling, thinking it would damage the lamp;
  • The following causal factors were identified:
    • no-one foresaw the need for precautions in adjusting the flood light
    • the crewman had limited knowledge the potential risk involved;
  • The root causes were found to be:
    • risk was considered tolerable – this was a routine recurring task
    • safety systems were inadequate – there was no properly designed handle to hold the light bracket in place while removing the securing pin.

What were the actions?

  • Review of specific ship and task risk assessments to include potential risks involved in this operation;
  • More effective toolbox talks to be conducted for the crew involved;

More care to be taken when conducting routine work, especially when less experienced crew are involved.

Members may wish to review the following incidents, all of which cover finger injuries following unplanned movement of heavy equipment:

Safety Event

Published: 27 June 2017
Download: IMCA SF 16/17

Relevant life-saving rules:
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