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Near-miss: Multiple potential dropped objects discovered during loading of spooling unit

What happened?

A vessel loaded a spooling unit and other cargo onto a platform. After lifting operations were completed, the platform reported that multiple potential dropped objects (total 19 items) had been identified on the spooling unit. These were mainly loose and unsecured items on the spooler working platform, on its upper level. The following were found, amongst other things: spooler locking pins weighing 7 kg each, securing nuts and bolts, unsecured spooler in cradle, unsecured gratings and unattached grating securing chain.

What went wrong? – Investigation and findings

  • Three separate opportunities to check for potential dropped objects were lost. Work instructions, procedures and the requirements of company safety management systems were not followed.
    • the vendor did not properly check the spooler unit for potential dropped objects before shipment
    • crew on the quayside did not properly check the spooler for potential dropped objects before load out onto the vessel. A specially designed inspection gantry unit was not used
    • the vessel’s deck crew did not visually check the upper working platform of the spooling unit for any loose items before lifting the load to the platform, despite of direct requirement of vessel owners safety management system (SMS).

What lessons were learnt? And what were the actions?

  • Large and complex objects – such as this spooling unit – should be subject to thorough inspection for potential dropped objects at every stage of the transportation process;
  • Do not under-estimate the hazards of loose objects falling from loads from trailers on the road or during loading operations;
  • Crew should be alert at all times to the danger of potential dropped objects and should never be under the load.

Members may wish to refer to the following incident:

Safety Event

Published: 22 May 2017
Download: IMCA SF 11/17

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