The case 

The incident occurred during the hours of darkness, when a thirdparty rigger was disconnecting lifts from the work vessel during demobilisation.

According to IMCA, a set of slings 15m long were draped over the forks (not coiled or palletised) of a forklift truck.

As the slings were lowered to the quayside, the steel eyes overhanging the forks made contact with the ground before the forks did, and they “kicked” off the forks.


When they hit the ground they straightened out, in the process moving violently towards the rigger, causing injuries to his leg and breaking his foot.

In fact, injuries to his lower left leg needed seven stitches and there was a multiple fracture to his upper left foot requiring surgery to repair. Following the accident, a recovery time of six weeks was estimated.


Credit: IMCA

The picture shows the quayside prior to the incident. Specifically, the white arrow shows the rigger in full hi-viz clothing, while the yellow line shows the route taken by him from aft of the vessel, with the red star indicating the location of the incident. The yellow arrow denotes the location where he awaited medical attention.

Lessons learned:

  • A known risky technique (this method for moving slings with a forklift) had been accepted as the norm.
  • There was no port induction for vessels coming into port, explaining quayside safety requirements including hi-viz and safe walkways.
  • Containers removed from the vessel blocked the safe walkway.
  • The forklift driver had to take a route which gave restricted visibility of personnel.
  • The rigger had removed his hi-viz jacket further reducing his visibility.
  • There was reduced lighting on the quayside.
  • There were simultaneous activities occuring in the area which were not properly controlled.

"Mobs and demobs often pose the most risk on a project and it is vitally important that we take all precautions necessary to protect anyone from injury during these activities. Remain aware of what is going on around you and don’t be afraid to stop the job when required". IMCA urged.

See also:

Lessons learned: Hand injury during routine maintenance onboard

Lessons learned: Always wear safety gloves during grinding activity