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Safety flashes – summary of 2017

This is a summary of the safety flash incidents reported during 2017, highlighting some trends worthy of note and one or two matters of interest.

148 incidents in 32 safety flashes were published during 2017. It should be noted that all published safety incidents are now available on the IMCA website as individual web pages. Safety flashes, comprising a PDF format collation of a number of incidents (normally 5 incidents), are still circulated to members by email.

102 incidents were reported by IMCA members during 2017. The remainder of the incidents published came from government bodies, regulators and trade associations, including the Marine Safety Forum (MSF). IMCA works closely with other industry bodies and regulators to ensure that appropriate incidents are passed on and lessons learned are circulated to members.

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 clear permission from the contributing member.

IMCA members’ reports


One fatality was reported which occurred on IMCA members’ operations. A member of an ROV crew was crushed when caught between the tether management system (TMS) and snubber ring whilst working on an on-deck ROV.

Lost Time Injuries

12 LTIs were reported by IMCA members. These were:

  • Six hand/finger LTIs:
    • finger injury during pilot ladder preparation
    • finger injury handling heavy shackle pin
    • finger injury during main engine exhaust valve overhaul
    • hand injury resulting from clothing catching on door
    • hand injury when load dropped from lifting magnet
    • wrist Injury when using power tool at height;
  • Two falls from height – BOTH incidents occurred when a worker fell through a hatch on a vessel in a shipyard;
  • Two during subsea/diving operations:
    • leg injury caused during HP water jetting
    • deadman anchor toppled over and harmed diver;
  • Other:
    • slips and trips: arm broken following slip on the stairs
    • line of fire: injury to leg – unplanned movement of fire flaps.

Areas of work in which incidents are reported

Other significant causal factors identified:

There is some overlap as incidents can have multiple causal factors attached to them:

  • Failure to follow procedures is a significant cause in around a third of reported incidents;
  • Damaged equipment or failed equipment is a significant cause in around a quarter of reported incidents;
  • Seamanship and/or mooring issues are a causal factor in 13% of reported incidents;
  • Finger and hand injuries remain an area where members should focus their efforts, as these still form 12% of reported incidents;
  • Stored energy/pressure was a causal factor in around 4% of reported incidents.

Safety Event

Published: 9 January 2018
Download: IMCA SF 01/18

IMCA Safety Flashes
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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.

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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.