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LTI: three fingers badly cut while handling a long brass bar

What happened?

A crewman on a vessel suffered laceration on three fingers of the left hand while attempting to remove brass bar from the storage rack.  The injury caused an LTI.

He was removing a brass bar (3m long, 47kg weight, 46 mm dia.) from the storage rack.  The brass bar was lying behind a wooden frame and behind two pieces of expanded metal mesh sheets.  Working alone, the injured person lifted the bar in stages to remove it from its storage. He first lifted the forward end of the bar which suddenly slipped, forcing his left hand downwards and against sharp edges on the steel wire mesh which, ripping into the skin under the weight of the bar, caused the injury.

Initial first aid was provided by vessel medic, but the decision was made to transfer him by helicopter to an onshore hospital for further treatment.

What went wrong?

  • The injured person did not risk assess the job correctly, and misjudged the weight of the brass bar (47kg);
  • The injured person did not ask for help in moving the bar, deciding to work alone;
  • The injured person was not wearing safety gloves during this job.

Lessons and actions

  • Check and re-assess the suitability of storage for materials and equipment;
    • Consider the adequacy of access, egress, lighting, ergonomics, stability influences such as weather and wind, lighting, and ergonomics;
  • If lone working cannot be avoided wherever possible, ensure that when persons are working alone, this is adequately covered by Task Risk Assessments (TRA);
  • Wear gloves for work like this! The wearing of task specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be noted in the risk assessment, and reinforced at toolbox talks.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 1 October 2021
Download: IMCA SF 27/21

Relevant life-saving rules:
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