Employees were exposed to the hazard of being struck by improperly secured cargo suspended in a sling attached to a vessel mounted crane's spreader bar.
Stevedoring employees are offloading a cargo of aluminum T - bars using synthetic web slings rigged to a crane's spreader bar.
Activity at time of incident:
A load of four aluminum bars was suspended in a sling above the cargo hold while an employee was working in the hold directly beneath the load.
Longshoremen are offloading aluminum bars from holds in a cargo ship, using lifting pans attached to a crane. Aware that the lifting pans are not properly certificated or inspected, the general manager orders the crews to quickly remove the lifting pans and to switch to a system utilizing four suspended synthetic slings rigged to the crane's spreader bar. The crew in this hold, which consists of a foreman and three laborers, are inexperienced in rigging loads using slings but they attempt it anyway.
At the time of the incident, the crane operator was hoisting the spreader bar which supported four individually slung aluminum T-bars. Each bar weighed approximately 1,300 pounds. Once the load cleared the top of the hatch, the crane operator began to laterally swing the load toward the pier. As the load moved to the side, the last T-bar slipped from its sling and fell back into the hold. The T-bar fell about 27 feet down into the hold, and either directly hit the employee in the hold, or glanced off another T-bar before hitting the employee, who was killed instantly.
No one in hold was qualified by training or experience to attach such a load to the slings or to supervise the rigging. The load was not properly slung, and employees were not clear of the load while it was being lifted. No formal special training was provided regarding handling various types of cargo, and metal products can be slippery and difficult to handle.
No members of the rigging crew involved in the fatality were present at the planning session where the use of the synthetic sling and spreader bar system was demonstrated.
The lifting pans were the preferred method of removing the T bars from the vessel, and should have been tested and certified in lieu of using synthetic slings.
Three of the synthetic slings were found to have snags, tears and cuts. In addition to the cargo handling gear hazards, numerous other hazards existed. Electrical hazards were found, involving temporary wiring, unapproved use and installations of electrical equipment, and extension cords. Blocked and unmarked exits, machine guarding hazards, and fall hazards also existed.
This hazard could have been prevented if the employer had properly inspected, tested, and certified its equipment or had instructed and supervised its employees in the proper selection method of attaching a sling to an aluminum T-bar. The hazard may have also been prevented if the employer had ensured that employees remain clear of a suspended load at all times and that employees were properly trained in rigging methods prior to performing the operations. The employer should also have ensured that:
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