Importance of Risk Assessment & Toolbox Talks Before Mooring Operation


IMCA Safety Flashes issued a summary of key safety matters and incidents related to inappropriate use of pneumatic line thrower for mooring line.

About the incident

During mooring operations crew on a vessel used a pneumatic line thrower (PLT) to throw a mooring line. In fact, several attempts were made, of which one was successful.

Two of the “bullets” disappeared and a window was broken at a warehouse building, approximately 100 meters from the vessel.

Probable causes 

  • There was no toolbox talk before the mooring operation;
  • There was a change of plan during the mooring operation: it  proved impossible to get a heaving line to the quayside and so a PLT was used, which was not a part of mooring equipment;
  • The PLT was not used according to manufacturers instructions or recommendations;
  • The use of the PLT was not covered in the existing risk assessment for mooring operations;
  • There was inadequate communication with the mooring team onshore;
  • No-one stopped the job; no-one thought through or assessed the potential risks of using the PLT.


  • Pneumatic line throwers ought not be used during mooring operation alongside quay, due to the increased risk to people and property;
  • Develop a solution to get a heaving line ashore from vessels with a covered forecastle, without using a PLT;
  • Ensure changed plans are managed using a Management of Change process; ensure appropriate risk assessment and toolbox talks are carried out before mooring operation;
  • Reiterate duty to stop the job and intervene if unsafe work is taking place.

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Source: IMCA


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