Safety Alert: Four incidents emphasising the critical importance of crane operator and signaller communication during lifting operations
In all the following cases, persons were not in a safe position before cargo was lifted/moved. There were other safety factors in each, but this alert emphasises a common one across all four cases: the importance of getting crane operator – signaller communications right.
Case 1 – Loading housing modules. A module was lowered onto a stevedore’s foot as he was positioning dunnage.
Case 2 and 3: Two similar incidents in only three days occurred in two separate ports, during loading of pulp. Stevedores were moving to the top of pulp bales from a fixed platform on the quay, to connect hooks. Required safety harness were in use and connected to the platform. In both, the safety line entangled in the hook chain when the crane lifted the cargo. The stevedores were pulled along with the lift and injured.
Case 4: Loading housing modules. Two stevedores were caught between moving cargo and a bulkhead. The cargo had been suspended for adjustment of dunnage, but then moved in a horizontal direction. One stevedore narrowly escaped. The other saw what was about to happen and braced himself for the impact. The cargo hit his arm, he fell backwards and hit an open access door behind him. The stevedore was taken to hospital.
- While other causes also contributed to these 4 incidents, there was a weakness in the communication between the signaller and crane in all of them
- The signaller must stop operations when persons are in an unsafe position, and check that everyone is well clear before giving the signal to start lifting.
- The crane operator must follow the signaller’s orders.
- Follow this life-saving rule: Identify danger zones and Never position yourself between the bulkhead and moving cargo..
ICHCA International is committed to helping industry to learn lessons fast, learn them once and make sure that they stay learnt. This information is intended to provide all organisations in the cargo supply chain with the opportunity to consider the events and to review and adapt their own health and safety control measures to proactively prevent future incidents.
We are grateful to G2 Ocean for providing details and for raising awareness. We acknowledge their commitment to sharing learning to benefit others. If you have similar operations, please share this information with managers, operatives and any potentially affected third parties as appropriate. Please also review any of your relevant operations for similar hazardous conditions, risks, and controls. Learning content like this is highly valuable as it is based on real-world experience. We encourage everyone with publishable information about incidents to send it to us, so that we can raise awareness across the whole industry. Please contact us at email@example.com; sharing your insight could save a life or prevent injury.