Beware signage dropping from a crane boom warns IMCA

In one of its regular safety bulletins, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has issued new information on an incident involving parts falling from a crane – in this instance a steel sign. IMCA says that this is not the first time this has happened and individuals may wish to review this in light of other similar reported incidents.

A piece of metal fell from a crane boom. The incident occurred on a vessel whilst alongside during the testing of the luffing motors’ braking system on the main crane. During this testing the crane boom made an uncontrolled descent into its crutch, resulting in a 60 kg steel sign falling 15m down to the deck. Investigation revealed that the sign was fixed by 4 x stitch welds, of which three were completely rusted away.

The following immediate actions were taken:
All Stop. The hydraulic technician contacted the bridge and chief engineer to report the incident and stop all associated operations;
The area beneath the crane (starboard dock wall, main deck passageway) was barriered off;
Crew working nearby were asked to make safe any work and leave the job;
A dropped object inspection of the crane boom took place to search for further loose items;
A dropped object inspection on the starboard dock wall and fly jib platform was performed;
A formal investigation began

Initial recommendations – subject to completion of investigation – were:
Review standard operating procedures for testing the brakes of the cranes;
Review the associated Permit to Work requirements (e.g. further consideration of what areas nearby should be barriered off);
Thorough inspection of all elements and parts of the crane (main, auxillary and signage) before further testing and use.

In recent times there have been a number of incidents reported in which objects have fallen from the crane itself. This incident forms yet another timely reminder to redouble efforts to check areas that might otherwise be overlooked in the search for potential dropped objects.

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