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Safety Flashes – a review of 2021

This is a summary of the thirty-four IMCA Safety Flashes published during 2021. All the published safety events or incidents are available on the IMCA website as individual web pages at Safety Flashes, comprising a number of events or incidents collected as a PDF, are circulated to members by email.

The 34 Flashes covered 163 individual incidents or events. Of these, 105 were received from IMCA members. The other incidents we included come from different trade bodies and regulators rather than our members, or are information already in the public domain.

IMCA Safety Flashes are aligned with the IOGP Life-saving Rules – this is something you can filter search results for. “Getting in the Line of Fire” was the IOGP Life-saving Rule that came up most often in 2021. The second Rule that came up a lot, was “Bypassing Safety Controls”. In the 105 incidents reported by IMCA members, the word “complacency”, or the idea that a task was “seen as routine”, comes up 7 times.

We’re still seeing a number of hand and finger injuries, electric shocks, and fires.  Our members reported 14 dropped objects in Safety Flashes this year. They reported 21 incidents where failure of equipment – whether through corrosion, lack of maintenance or wear and tear – was a causal factor. One interesting trend is in the failure of equipment in difficult to maintain places – way up high or in hard to reach corners. The human element remains an important factor: equipment may fail because it was not designed for safe and easy maintenance.  Things may go wrong because a crew member doesn’t dare stop the job.  Our people are still harming themselves because they see hazardous activities as “just routine”, and skimp on the precautions.  Stay safe!! 

We welcome Safety Flash submissions from our members.  The best option is to put an IMCA email address on your internal distribution list – several contractors have done this.  Members can send information to IMCA in any format provided the text can be copied, or you may use the submission template found here.

Safety Event

Published: 17 December 2021
Download: IMCA SF 35/21

IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.