202014 Fan blade finger injury

25 Feb 2020 MARS 2020

A tanker was moored and waiting to load cargo. An engineer and the electrician were tasked with the scheduled maintenance of the electric motor of one of the engine room supply fans.

After a briefing by senior staff on the work to be done, the two men isolated the motor’s electric circuit and did a lock-out. The fan-motor unit was located in a small deck house and was accessed through a cover built into the ventilation ducting. As they pulled the cover off, part of the gasket became detached. The engineer instinctively tried to grab the gasket but in doing so his right hand struck the edge of the immobile fan blades inside the ducting.

Even though he was wearing gloves, the impact caused a deep wound on his second finger. After first aid, he was sent ashore for further medical examinations. He received three stitches and was declared unfit for duties for 20 days.

Lessons learned

  • Working in cramped and difficult areas brings its own risks. Be aware of these possibilities and adjust your work style accordingly.
  • Even seemingly minor injuries can have repercussions that last for some time. In this case the victim was unfit for duty for 20 days.