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Near miss: pipe dropped from pipe supports

What happened

During the cleaning of a section of pipe at a third-party facility, the pipe rolled off the pipe support easels and dropped to the floor. There was no injury to personnel nor damage. The incident happened when a worker was using an angle grinder with an abrasive sanding wheel to clean the pipe. The pipe was supported by two easels at either end with only minimal wedges or restraint to prevent the pipe rolling off the supports. The worker turned the pipe to get to the underside and during this action the pipe rolled off the supports dropping to the ground.

Dropped pipe from pipe supports
Previous Incident – 8m pipe length stored on support stand with no stoppers or wedges
Previous Incident – Dropped welding coupon from support single stand

Our member reports that this is the third incident in the last 12 months with a similar cause – inadequate supports used while working on pipes. 

What went wrong the following findings were noted:

  • There were inadequate supports used for working on and storing pipes;
  • There was a failure in procedures and risk assessments, to address the manual handling aspects of pipes on temporary supports;
  • There was a failure to learn from previous industry incidents;
  • Previous inspections and audits had failed to verify controls and preventive measures;
  • Human factors, risk perception and competency of personnel involved in operations.


  • Ensure effective risk assessment of temporary pipe stand / support arrangements;
  • Use rollers or other mechanical devices to turn a pipe;
  • Managing third party suppliers and contractors:
    • Set clear expectations on what should and should not be done;
    • Have formal agreements in place on the level of oversight, mode of control and accountability;
    • Schedule audits, inspections, and verifications of third party operations;
    • Support third party contractors and consider regular fresh eye reviews of work tasks and equipment in use.

•     Remember that you can and should STOP THE JOB if you think it is unsafe. Don’t hesitate to do so.

Members may wish to refer to

Safety Event

Published: 13 December 2022
Download: IMCA SF 28/22

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