A davit crane was being used for lifting operations on a wind turbine transition piece.
After releasing the first load, the crane operator raised the hook up, while a supporting technician started to manually operate the crank handle to slew the hook towards the vessel below.
The technician raised the hook at approximately 5 cm (2 inches) above the transition piece (TP) gate handrail. Once the hook was nearly slewed, the technician stopped the lift and manually repositioned the chains over the handrail.
The lifting operations continued, with the load being lowered while slewing continued.
The crane hook hit the transition piece gate and opened upon impact, allowing a set of chains to fall on the crew transfer vessel (CTV) situated below.
Why did it happen?
The poor practice of manually repositioning the chains was intended to make the lifting operations quicker.
Instead, it resulted in the bottom handle of the crane hook hitting the transition piece gate handrail, which caused the crane hook to open and tilt, allowing the chains to drop on the vessel below.
What did they learn?
Always have a lifting plan in place. Ensure that the crane is safely operated, and the crew are aware of their roles and responsibilities.
Define exclusion zones around lifting operations and ensure no one enters them. Review current lifting practices, exclusion zones and their application.
Ensure loads and lifting chains remain clear of the handrails (or any equipment) during crane lifting operations.
Ask yourself or your crew
How can something like this happen here?
How would we perform a similar lift safely?
What could be the consequences of deviating from the approved lifting plans?
What measures do we have in place to prevent dropped objects during lifting operations on wind turbines? How can we improve?
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During lifting operations from a transition piece (TP), the crane hook hit the TP gate and opened upon impact. This allowed a set of chains to fall on the crew transfer vessel below.