A crewman slipped and sprained his ankle climbing off equipment on which he had been working. The incident occurred inside a transition piece (the lower part of an offshore wind turbine tower). A crewman was climbing down off a cable rack (on which he had climbed to loosen cable cleats and apply a heat blanket) when he slipped off and twisted his ankle, loosing balance and falling onto the floor.
He managed to walk back to the vessel over the walk-to-work (W2W) gangway on his own, and suffered no fractures; however, he sprained his ankle, restricting him from normal duties for three days.
What were the causes?
- The cable rack was not designed to be climbed on; the spacing between rungs varies and does not follow the standard for fixed ladders;
- Access to the work location on top of the cable rack was not addressed in the risk assessment and the related procedure;
- Inadequate mitigations implemented; the narrow workspace in the transition piece does not allow the use of stepladders and work platforms.
What lessons were learned?
- Identify hazards at design stage to ensure that safe access can be achieved;
- Before starting work, safe access to any site should be established. If this can’t be achieved, then STOP the job and report the issue to your Supervisor;
- Ladders and platforms – safe and appropriate to the conditions should be used and working at height processes should be followed.
Members may wish to refer to:
- Near-miss: improper use of fall-arrest equipment leads to fall
- Fatality in ballast water tank – working at height in a confined space
- Lost time injury (LTI): Fall from height [similar issue in 2013 – crewman fell off while climbing on equipment]
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