Skip to content

Unsafe transportation and packing arrangements

What happened

One of our members has recently experienced two near miss incidents, resulting from the inadequate packing of goods during transportation with the potential for more significant consequences and injury.

Common factors from these recent near miss incidents:

  • Packing conditions of project equipment were inadequate to provide appropriate containment and support of the equipment and goods during transportation and handling;
  • Transportation and packing activities were subcontracted to third parties;
  • Specified and appropriate packing instructions were not implemented;
  • The obligation to exercise the Stop work authority was applicable in both cases, but was only applied in one.
Post Incident #1 – showing wooden crates damage
Post Incident #1 – showing new packaging specification implemented
Post Incident #2 – showing how plastic sheeting failed to maintain pads on pallets
Post Incident #2 – showing appropriate wooden crates on pallets to take the load

What went wrong?

  • Work Planning
    • The full transportation process was not properly considered;
    • There was a lack of formal and appropriate packing instructions;
  • Risk Assessment/Risk Perception
    • Multiple opportunities were missed, throughout the transportation process – and specifically at load out – to identify that the packing arrangements were inadequate for safe transportation;
  • Quality Assurance and Verification
    • There was a lack of verification of the process and procedures to control packing and transportation during the vendor approval process;
  • Supervision – Failure to consistently implement the stop work obligation.


  • Take into account the whole process of transportation from start to end. This requires packing the load in appropriate conditions to satisfy all transport activities from load out to off load;
  • Ensure formal packing instructions are fit for purpose;
  • Ensure packing instructions and expectations are communicated to third parties’ subcontractors in a timely manner, prior to packing and transportation activities;
  • If it’s unsafe – STOP THE JOB: Communicate clearly the understanding that all parties including subcontractors have the obligation and expectation to exercise stop work authority when required;

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 24 October 2022
Download: IMCA SF 23/22

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

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.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

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.