Real Life Accident: Foot Trapped And Injured In Windlass Gear

In preparation for arrival in port, two seamen were assigned to bring out mooring ropes from the forward rope store and coil them on the forecastle deck. The OS was operating the windlass/mooring winch control lever, which was at about chest-level for a person of average height, and the AB was handling the rope on the warping barrel, situated about 4 metres outboard.

Presumably in order to adopt a more ergonomically efficient stance for holding the control lever in its operating position, the OS placed his right foot on a welded pad eye on the supporting bracket for winch shaft bearing. Inadvertently, he pushed his foot into the gap between this bracket and the circumferential guard of the main driven gear wheel and into the path of the rotating spokes. Instantly, his foot was trapped and crushed. He was given first aid and was hospitalized soon after arrival in port the following day.

Lessons learnt

1. While operating the mooring winch/windlass, the operator must concentrate on what he is doing and must not be distracted;

accident site

2. A winch operator must stand only on the designated area for a safe and effective operating position;

3. All body parts (hands, feet, etc.) must be kept at a safe distance from the moving parts of the winch;

preventive action

4. Regular training sessions must be carried out for ship’s staff for familiarisation with the mooring equipment and safe working practices.

Corrective/preventative action

foot trapped

A steel guard plate was fabricated and fitted over the gap existing between winch shaft bearing support bracket and peripheral gear wheel guard.

Reference & Image Credits: nautinst

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