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LTI: Leg Fractured While Loading Tubulars

What happened?

A load shifted during cargo operations, pinning a crewman’s leg between the deck and the load, causing a broken leg. The incident occurred on a vessel which was in port to load cargo. The cargo consisted of various items including containers and multiple bundles of tubulars. The crane driver lifted the tubulars into position with the deck ratings providing voice communication to ensure that the load was in the correct position. Once confirmed correct, the crane driver payed out the crane wire allowing the deck ratings to disconnect the sling from the lifting hook. Shortly after disconnection, the load shifted striking an AB in the left leg, pinning his leg between the deck and the tubulars.

What went wrong?

  • The task of loading tubulars was considered routine and therefore was not risk assessed adequately;
  • The likelihood of the tubulars not being secure and moving once landed had not been identified as a risk, and the injured AB was positioned in the line of fire with nothing to prevent the tubular load striking the leg.

What were the causes?

  • Risk Management processes did not identify hazards associated with task;
  • Personnel were positioned in line of fire with no physical means of holding moving load;
  • Vessel relied on a third party onshore provider to bundle load correctly with no checks.

Lessons learned

  • Supervision and checking of loads is required prior to each lift, especially from third party providers;
  • Multiple bundles of tubulars were lifted in a single lift. The bundles should either be lifted separately or moussed together;
  • Physical means of holding loads (pins/chocks) should be deployed in case of potential moving load;
  • Positive: the injured person was properly treated because the medical emergency procedures were well drilled and practiced.


  • Ensure agreed lifting plans and configuration of unusual loads with third party or client prior to lift;
  • Vessel crew should inspect and supervise the loading process;
  • Deploy pins or chocks to prevent load moving to impact personnel;
  • Personnel reminded not to stand in line of fire during/ or post lift.

Members may wish to refer to

Safety Event

Published: 15 September 2020
Download: IMCA SF 27/20

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