Lessons Learned: Injury During Lifting Operations

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IMCA reports of an incident where a person got struck and injured during lifting operations.

What happened

The incident occurred during decommissioning activities on board a spar, where a fire water pump skid had to be removed. It was gouged out from the top of spar in accordance with the decommissioning plan, but during the initial lift, it remained partially attached.

The crew stopped work and exchanged the rigging for a more robust solution. During the second lift attempt, the skid unexpectedly came free and made contact with an adjacent nitrogen vessel, which had previously been cut 95% loose. The sudden and unplanned release of energy led to the nitrogen vessel tank striking the injured person, who was standing in the line of fire. He fell backwards and hit his head on a diagonal bracing, causing him to lose his helmet as he fell down. The injured person was transferred back to the vessel, where a medivac was waiting to transport him to a hospital onshore.

What went wrong

The investigation revealed that:

  • The skid was still attached to the deck of the spar by inner/underneath welds, which were unknown during the work preparations;
  • The decommissioning project had been prepared in a short time frame, which had an major impact on resources;
  • There was no appropriate Control of Work nor Management of Change before the second lift attempt;
  • Some objections/feedback given by crew members before proceeding with the second attempt, had not been acted upon.

Lessons

  • Allocate enough time and resources to perform project preparations;
  • Ensure that Control of Work and Management of Change processes are rigorously applied in order to identify unknown hazards and mitigate any potential risks;
  • LISTEN when concerns are raised;
  • STOP when things are not going according to plan;
  • Take the time required to REASSESS the situation with your boss and with your colleagues before proceeding.

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Source: IMCA