201513 Serious injury while greasing
The deck team undertook the greasing of the aft mooring winches. Using a grease gun, an O/S began greasing a winch. The O/S was holding the hose of the grease gun with his right hand while resting his left hand on the groove where the winch gear is engaged.
The Bosun, unaware that the OS was resting his left hand on the groove of the winch engagement, ordered another seaman to turn the winch slowly to maximise the greasing effect. Suddenly, the OS using the grease gun shouted ‘Stop, stop, stop’. The winch was stopped immediately, but not before the gear had seriously wounded his hand. The victim was treated for deep lacerations in the hospital and repatriated, being declared unfit for work for 14 days.
1 While there was certainly inadequate supervision during this job, miscommunication and a lack of situational awareness among team members also played a large role in the outcome.
2 Although the team had experience with this relatively mundane task, they failed to appreciate the hazards present in such an activity.
Editor’s note: Mundane, everyday jobs can, in some ways, be considered more hazardous than unusual or special tasks. With the latter, we usually take the time to analyse risks, communicate efficiently as a team, and retain high situational awareness. Everyday jobs can find us slipping into complacent behaviour, and when we become complacent, bad things happen.