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Serious hand injury (MSF)

What happened

The MSF reports in Safety Alert 22-12 an incident involving an inadvertent self-inflicted finger injury.  This serious injury was sustained while someone was replacing a knife into its sheath. The crew member had been splicing 12mm polypropylene rope for use as guide ropes on the gangway. He had removed his gloves to splice the ropes, and once finished, attempted to put his knife back into its sheath at his belt, still without gloves.  

What went wrong

He missed the sheath with the knife and pushed the knife into and down his left Index finger, causing a large deep incision, requiring surgery to correct possible tendon damage, and close the wound.

What can we do right?

Our hands are our most used tool. Protecting your fingers and hands is important. Damage to the nerves in your fingers and hands, loss of a finger, skin burns or allergic reaction, can negatively impact the quality of your work, your productivity – or worse – end your career and seriously detract from your quality of life.

  • Only use knives for their intended purpose;
  • Never use “homemade” tools;
  • Cut away from yourself, away from your body, keeping all fingers out of your cutting line;
  • Use all personal protective equipment required including gloves;
  • Cut on a stable surface;
  • Stay focused;
  • Don’t rush, take plenty of time, care and pay attention to what you and your knife are doing.

Please see the IMCA safety video Watch your hands

Members may wish to refer to

Safety Event

Published: 11 January 2023
Download: IMCA SF 02/23

Relevant life-saving rules:
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