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Safety flashes: Summary of 2016

This is a brief summary of the incidents reported during 2016, highlighting some of the trends and points worthy of note. During 2016, IMCA published 148 incidents in 35 safety flashes. This is outstanding – IMCA members are to be thanked for sharing more incidents during 2016 than in any previous year.

One of the challenges we faced in 2016 was maintaining the highest levels of impact and learning value of safety flash incidents, at a time when we were publishing a safety flash almost every week. For this reason, we have not published every incident reported to us – we have omitted to publish 25 reported incidents. In general, we have not passed on incidents which were considered to have no new or relevant lessons for members.

We have continued, so far has been reasonably practicable (taking into account the need to publish incidents in a timely way), to publish safety flashes with incidents grouped together with a broad theme or focus.

Two thirds of the events received and published come from IMCA contractor, supplier and corresponding members. The remainder come from government bodies, regulators and trade associations, including the Marine Safety Forum (MSF). 13% of 2016 IMCA safety incidents were reported first by the 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.

42 IMCA members reported incidents. Seven members reported more than one incident. IMCA has nearly 1000 members. We continue to encourage all IMCA members to contribute incidents to the IMCA safety flash system. This is an important way to influence industry safety policy by actively taking part.


* NB: Only one of these fatalities was reported by an IMCA member. The remainder were reported by trade associations, regulatory and/or safety bodies, or clients. Key issues for the above incidents are highlighted in bold.


Themes that emerge from a glance at these titles are, hand/finger injuries (6), scalding (3 – the microwaved food injury was a scald), and two eye injuries. All but one of these LTIs were reported by IMCA members.

In some incidents reported, ambiguous language and lack of information mean that it is not absolutely clear that an actual LTI occurred (as distinct from a first aid case or medical treatment case). These incidents are not included in this list.

Causal factors in reports from IMCA members

NB: only incidents reported by IMCA members are included in this breakdown of causal factors. There is some overlap as incidents can have multiple causal factors attached to them:

  • Equipment failure or corrosion 17%;
  • Dropped objects 14%;
  • Diving-related incidents 13%;
  • Seamanship and mooring 13%;
  • Line of fire/finger/hand injuries 9%;
  • Stored energy or stored pressure 8%.

Safety Event

Published: 11 January 2017
Download: IMCA SF 01/17

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.