A member has reported a number of incidents of uncontrolled lifts of a hinged deck hatch which resulted in damage to equipment onboard a vessel. There was no injury to any personnel. One incident happened during the lifting of a hinged hatch using webbing slings and a crane; the strops failed during the lift causing the hinged hatch to fall back to the deck. The other incident resulted in failure of the hatch hinges.
Because of the potential to cause harm and because of the recurrence of similar kinds of incident, a full investigation was carried out.
The investigation team noted the following:
- Opening of this hatch has been considered a ‘routine’ activity;
- In both incidents, sufficient force was applied to the strops or the hatch hinges for them to fail;
- Lifting operations where the load remained attached at one end to the vessel via a hinge or other device represents an additional hazard that needs to be taken into account in risk assessment and lift methodology.
The investigation team recommended the following actions:
- Systematic review of all hatches which are required to be opened on a ‘routine’ or infrequent basis using mechanical lifting equipment, i.e. cranes or hoists;
- Review or completion of a risk assessment for the operation of these hatches;
- Ensuring controls are adequate to prevent failure of lifting equipment or hatches;
- Where controls are identified as inadequate, minimising risk, e.g. with a safe system of work or additional equipment or other means of control.
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