What happened?

An accident occurred during maintenance work onboard. The injured person (IP) and a deck trainee were changing some of the filters onboard. These are heavy items, but the job is considered routine since it is carried out on a regular basis.

The IP was trying to loosen one of several nuts on the bolts, but the nut was stuck. This is not unusual during this operation, and the they agreed to use a small sledgehammer to hit the wrench to force it loose.

The IP was holding the wrench  and nut with one hand and the sledgehammer with the other. After hitting the wrench, the nut came loose and the wrench turned.

One finger on the hand holding the wrench got squeezed between the wrench and hard goods on the filter house in the sudden turn. Due to the high force, a piece of the fingertip was cut off and resulted in an open wound.

The IP received medical attention by onboard crew and was later sent ashore for further treatment by local healthcare services. Due to the severity of the injury, the IP was sent home on sick leave.

Why did it happen?

Direct cause: environmental conditions – the area had poor work space

Root cause: inadequate maintenance, tools or equipment – inadequate work standards and risk assessment


Lessons learned

It is important to ensure that the work to be performed is planned and the risks known.

  • The specific work was not risk assessed. This is a job that is carried out on board on a regular basis, and both parties had done it multiple times. However, the method and tools used were not always the same, but varied. New tools for the operation have been purchased.
  • The specific work was later risk assessed, including the tools to be used during this operation.