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    IMCA publishes guidance on avoiding workplace accidents

    Publications // November 23, 2005

    The offshore oil and gas industry has become very much safer through the dedication of contractors and their personnel over the years – safety is ranked equally with key commercial and technical considerations. Risk assessments, job safety analysis and toolbox talks all help to identify potential hazards and to avoid them. However, the target still remains ‘zero accidents’ and there is a way to go before that ‘holy grail’ is achieved.

    Injury analysis shows that slips, trips and falls, and crushing and pinching of fingers account for a large proportion of injuries in the industry, indeed, slips and trips alone account for a third of reported major industry injuries. 

    Now, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), has produced a ‘Slips, Trips and Finger Nips’ (IMCA SEL 013) DVD (available in PAL and NTSC formats) which does exactly what it says on the tin, and addresses those incidents that can happen because of a moment’s carelessness, lack of attention or just not taking the time to think. 

    The video, which is in English, has subtitles in Arabic, Filipino, French, Indonesian, Italian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish in order to address the international audience at which it is aimed.

    “Our industry has come a long way in managing to eliminate serious injuries,” said IMCA’s Technical Director, Jane Bugler on the DVD. “We’ve done this by better engineering, risk analysis and other safe systems of work, but most importantly by involving people and making safety everyone’s business. Now it’s time to tackle the smaller incidents. The ones where you might say ‘that was stupid really, I wasn’t thinking what I was doing or watching where I was going’. Although we might think of them as minor incidents, at the individual level they can be painful, even life threatening and can have long-term effects on health and family life. Getting rid of the little things, the slips, trips and finger nips is not going to be easy but is the goal that is worthwhile and achievable.  On the DVD we are urging all working offshore to: ‘Get involved, be prepared to communicate, but above all, be aware of the hazards to yourself and workmates and go home fit and healthy’.”

    The video advises its viewers to be aware of risks and look out for each other, stressing that awareness and communication are key. It highlights some of the most usual causes of trips such as slipping off a ladder rung, tripping over a step, missing footing on a stairway, twisting an ankle on a pad eye, fracturing a wrist by slipping on the drill floor; or crushing fingers between loads and recommends that offshore workers – whatever their jobs – look out for themselves, look out for their workmates, be an active part of the company safety programme and do something about any unsafe area or practice.

    “Feedback is key,” said Bugler. “We need everyone working offshore to not only do something about any unsafe acts and conditions, but to report them. Safety reporting has played a crucial role in bringing down accident and injury figures and we need to ensure that all those slips, trips and finger nips are adequately reported and action taken to ensure that they are not repeated.”

    The DVD costs £10 for members and £50 for non-members and is available from and from IMCA at 5 Lower Belgrave Street, London SW1W 0NR, UK.  Tel: +44 (0)20 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0)20 7824 5521. Email: 

    IMCA also publishes a “Working at Height” video and a series of pocket safety cards. There are currently eight cards available - manual handling safety guide; preventing slips and trips; toolbox talks; lifting operations; lifting equipment; working at height - preventing and dealing with falls; drug and alcohol misuse - the effects; and watch your hands: you've only got one set. Others will be regularly introduced to the set. Further information on all safety promotional items is available at 


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