During works done from a hoisting cage on board of a 114 m long vessel, a seaman was seriously injured when the hoisting chain broke and the cage subsequently fell into the empty hold.

Narrative
On board of a vessel of 4000 GT, on a very cold winter day in northern Europe, a movable bulkhead had to be shifted to another position to separate different cargo grades to be loaded on board the vessel. Routinely, the gaps between movable and side bulkhead were sealed with plastic foam in order to hinder cargoes mixing with each other. For this purpose, the vessel’s gantry crane is equipped with hoisting chain devices (chain block). This device is used for operating hoisting cages from which the crew member is able to spray the foam into the gaps between the bulkheads. Without warning, the chain of the hoisting device broke when the cage was at a height of about 6,5 m.  The sailor was seriously injured and required hospitalisation.

Recommendation
A fall preventer should be installed in such a setup as described above. This would catch the cage and prevent it from falling into the hold.