Real Life Accident: Electrician Crushed To Death By Travelling Gantry Crane
The vessel was in port and routine ’travelling manoeuvres’ of the vessel’s gantry crane by a ship’s officer were being undertaken. The assistant electrician, probably standing near the top of the hatch access ladder, was caught and fatally crushed between the hatch lifting hook and the guide beam of the moving gantry crane.
At the time of the accident, this hatch lid was double stacked on another lid. The little clearance between the guide beam on the aft leg of the gantry crane and fittings on the hatch lids is even further reduced when they are double stacked. Each gantry crane was fitted with warning devices that operated automatically whenever the gantry crane travelled along the length of the deck.
Warning lights were fitted on all four legs and a siren was fitted on each of the two forward legs. An emergency stop button was fitted to each leg and emergency stop pull wires were fitted along the braces that ran between the two legs.
Some of the findings and safety issues of the official report:
- The assistant electrician did not comply with the requirements of the on board permit to work system. He did not gain the Master’s approval to work on deck during crane operations (an on board requirement) and he did not ensure that the gantry crane driver was advised and that the gantry crane’s electrical power supply was isolated before he began working in the vicinity of the crane.
- The gantry crane ‘in motion’ warning light nearest to the assistant electrician’s location was not operating and the warning sirens were not audible from his location. As a result, he was not provided with either a visual or audible warning of the crane’s movement.
- The on board familiarisation process did not ensure that new crew members were informed of the precautions required when working on deck while the gantry cranes were in operation.
Once had a similar tragic accident on a open hatch gantry crane vessel. In this accident the Chief Engineer decided to catch a lift on the gantry crane which was travelling down the deck. As he jumped onto the gantry cranes leg he slipped on a wet and slippery hatch cover and his visable jacket got caught up on a large cable hook. The crane driver could not see him and he was dragged by his visable jacket into the hatch cover lifting block and crushed between that block and the crane leg. Sailors on deck saw the accident and rushed to hit the emergency stop but were to late..