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LTI: Hand injury during diving operations

A member reports a serious hand injury suffered by a diver working in the water on floating hoses at an SPM (single point mooring).  Two divers were working on unbolting the flange on a floating hose on an SPM, one on either side of the hose.  They were working together on the same bolts, one using a pneumatic impact wrench, the other, a flogging spanner. One of the divers started to loosen a bolt using the air tool, before the other diver was braced and ready. The flogging spanner held by the other diver jerked rapidly and trapped three fingers of his left hand between the metal plate and flogging spanner, causing a serious injury.

The injured diver was evacuated by small boat and taken to hospital. There were no broken bones but some stitches were needed, following which he was 14 days off work.

What were the causes?

Our member noted the following causal factors:

  • poor communication;
  • inattentiveness and lack of awareness;
  • Procedures not clear/procedures not followed;
  • Being in an unsafe position or “in the line of fire”;
  • Feeling time pressure to finish the job.

Lesson learned

  • Stop and think before you start – hold a toolbox meeting, make sure the task is properly risk assessed;
  • Take care how tools are held, and keep yourself out of your own and others’ line of fire;
  • Consider the use of extensions to tools or different tools, or different ways of doing the job, if that keeps you out of the line if fire.

Members may wish to refer to

Safety Event

Published: 2 June 2021
Download: IMCA SF 15/21

Relevant life-saving rules:
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