A recent Safety Flash by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) focuses on an incident in which a dock worker suffered a serious hand injury during mooring operations, to provide lessons learned.
he incident occurred as the vessel was prepared for departure from the berth. The mooring foreman signalled the team to let go, keeping one line on the bollard. The injured person grabbed the rope at the end of the eye near the area of the splice and began to remove it from the bollard. Halfway through removing it from the bollard, the rope suddenly tightened, causing the eye of the rope to catch onto the side of the bollard while his right hand got stuck in between two ropes. The injured person was able to pull out his hand from the trapped gloves and shout for help, before receiving first aid.
What went wrong
- There was a lack of planning, a lack of risk assessment, a lack of forethought: the injured party put their hand in the line of fire;
- Insufficient slack was provided in the rope when the dock worker attempted to grab the spring line from the bollard. As the ship’s crew attempted to slack the spring line, tension mounted and caused the rope to tighten on the vessel’s winch;
- The absence of a messenger or tail line attached to the ship’s mooring lines.
- Stop and think before acting – take the time to think things through;
- Keep your hands and fingers out of the line of fire;
- Be ready to stop the job if someone else is looking as though they are putting themselves or others at risk.