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Near-miss: Dropped object from cargo

A member has reported a near-miss incident which a crew member was almost struck by a falling object. The near-miss occurred when the crew member was executing a daily sea-fastening inspection. A steel object of approximately 1.8kg fell from a height of 12m onto the deck, landing close to the crew member.

Dropped object
Dropped object
Cargo showing loose debris
Cargo showing loose debris

Our member’s investigation revealed the following:

  • The cargo was not sufficiently cleaned or prepared before loading;
  • During vessel movement, the loose object moved towards the edge and at a certain moment fell over the edge;
  • The immediate causes were identified as follows:
    • insufficient cleaning of the cargo prior to delivery
    • insufficient checking of the cargo prior to loading by the member;
  • The root cause was identified to be insufficient awareness of client failure to clean the cargo could result in a hazardous situation.
  • Our member noted that although the responsibility for delivering the cargo in a safe state lies with the client, it should not be taken for granted that this had been done, and the condition of the cargo should always be checked before loading.The following actions were taken:
  • Immediate inspection of the cargo for other loose items and removal thereof – insofar as the objects could be reached safely;
  • Creation of exclusion zones underneath areas which could not be cleaned;
  • Circulated this incident report to re-emphasize the hazards of dropped objects;
  • Ensured pre-job risk assessments emphasize the possibility of loose objects on the cargo;
  • Ensured client awareness of the responsibility to deliver the cargo in safe state.


Members may wish to refer to the following similar incidents (key words: dropped, cargo):

Safety Event

Published: 18 December 2014
Download: IMCA SF 19/14

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