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Safety Flashes – a summary of 2020

This is a summary of the IMCA Safety Flashes of 2020. 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.

In 2020 IMCA published 148 incidents or events in 34 Safety Flashes. The events or incidents came to IMCA’s attention, or were reported to IMCA, between 2/10/19 and 9/11/20.

IMCA does not publish all the events or incidents received; the decision whether or not to publish is necessarily subjective and editorial in nature, in order to ensure that there are clear lessons learned for our readers. It is not appropriate to draw statistically authoritative conclusions from analysis of these safety flash events and incidents . The most we might say about the safety of the marine contracting operations of IMCA members, is that we can discern patterns or trends over time, not necessarily in safety as such, but in safety reporting.

Total Incidents reported160174
Incidents reported by IMCA members110 134
Incidents reported by other industry bodies2440
Incidents published134148
Incidents not published2626

“Other industry bodies” includes, but is not restricted to, the Marine Safety Forum (MSF), the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), the US Coast Guard and the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
We continue to encourage all IMCA members to contribute their incidents to the IMCA Safety Flash system. This is an important way to influence industry safety awareness by actively taking part. It is worth reminding members that IMCA will work closely with contributors to ensure the strict anonymity and appropriateness of all published Safety Flash material. Nothing is published without the clear written permission of the contributing member.

Trends worthy of note
  • I’m happy to report that there were fewer fire-related incidents reported last year (6% last year, 14% in 2019);
  • IMCA continues to encourage further reporting of near misses and potential incidents – 11% of reported events and incidents were of this sort in 2020. This was fewer than in 2019, but more than in 2018. The IMCA HSSE Core Committee has as a 2021 objective, the task of clarifying an IMCA position on near misses and high potential incidents;
  • As in 2019, 10% of reported events and incidents involved injuries to hands, fingers and thumbs;
  • 10% of reported events and incidents involved cranes or cargo;
  • 10% of reported events and incidents involved dropped objects.
The IOGP Life-Saving Rules

During 2020, we developed an IMCA position on the IOGP Life-Saving Rules. During 2020, we developed an IMCA position on the IOGP Life-Saving Rules (Information Note 1543, originally published as IMCA HSSE 03/20).

IOGP’s Life-Saving Rules specifically address nine critical areas where repeated fatalities have occurred. Some IMCA Members have already implemented the IOGP Life-saving Rules in their own operations. Other Members plan to do so in due course. Whilst accepting that adoption of the IOGP Life-saving Rules may be a journey and a process, IMCA recommends that all Members adopt these Rules for the betterment of our industry.

The template for submission of safety flashes allows members to indicate which of the Life-Saving Rules may be most relevant, or which IOGP Life-Saving Rule category any given incident or event might fall into. Of course, any incident or event might be attributable to one, more than one, or none, of the IOGP Life-Saving Rules, and hence the total does not add up to 100%. Informal analysis of the data received in 2020 shows the following:

For more information, please contact [email protected]

Safety Event

Published: 4 January 2021
Download: IMCA SF 01/21

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.