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Serious incident: Pad eye fell from crane boom and struck rigger

A member has reported a potentially very serious near miss incident in which a crewman was struck by a falling object. The incident took place when a 50 Te deck crane had just recovered a high pressure running tool and was being placed back into the boom rest. A rigger was preparing to secure a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) hook into a safe recess when a fixed pad eye (1.78 kg) on the knuckle boom broke free, fell 8.5 metres and struck the rigger. The pad eye hit a glancing blow on his safety helmet and down to his right forearm. The rigger was unharmed and after examination he was cleared for full duties.

Our member’s investigation revealed the following:

  • the pad eye was damaged and extensively corroded, likely from unreported impact or damage;
  • the pad eye-s poor condition and corrosion was not identified by a number of persons, though there had been a number of inspections and checks over several months. However defects had become ‘normalised’;
  • a previous unreported or unnoticed damage to the crane boom pad eye had occurred;
  • when the crane was stowed on the crane rest, the pad eye on the knuckle boom was seen to be too close to the crane rest. This increased the likelihood of operator error and clashes.

Our member suggested the following actions:

  • assess all crane booms for potential for boom/crane rest damage or clashes;
  • ensure that crane checks and inspections are carried out regularly and thoroughly, particularly checking corrosion, damage or defects;
  • check carefully to ensure that crane boom rests, and the likelihood of dropped objects from crane boom and rests, are included in crane inspections and dropped object surveys.

Members will be aware that in recent times there have been a number of incidents reported in which objects have fallen from the crane itself. This incident forms a timely reminder to redouble our efforts to check areas that might otherwise be overlooked in the search for potential dropped objects.

Members may wish to refer to the following incidents (search words: crane, dropped):

Members are also reminded of Guidelines for lifting operations.

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