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    Guidelines for lifting operations published by IMCA

    Publications // December 6, 2007

    A key part of almost all offshore and subsea operations is lifting -
    lifting of stores and spares handling through to complicated and heavy lifts, and there could be in excess of 200 different kinds of lifting operations on a vessel. 

    Each lift brings with it the possibility of injury to people and damage to equipment, but with proper planning, hazards can be identified and risks reduced or eliminated.

    "It was to help increase safety levels in this vital area of our
    members' work that we formed the IMCA Crane & Winch Operations Workgroup," explained Hugh Williams, chief executive of the International Marine Contractors Association, the trade association that represents over 420 offshore marine and underwater engineering companies in 48 countries.

    "Regardless of whether a complex and perceived high-risk
    project, or a comparatively straightforward every day task, proper risk assessment, comprehensive lift planning and safety awareness throughout a lift team can help to avoid incidents."

    The Workgroup has now published 'IMCA Guidelines for Lifting Operations' which sets out procedures and basic criteria based on the existing practices of members operating safely around the world. 

    The new publication is intended to show essential components that should be included in company procedures for lifting operations and to offer advice on the steps within a lifting operation process that will promote safety. 

    "While primarily aimed at subsea lifting operations, the principles described in the new publication are relevant to all offshore lifting operations and generally to lifting operations anywhere," Hugh Williams adds.

    Available for downloading from the IMCA member-only website and available in printed form for 15 for members and 30 for non-members (plus 20% for delivery outside Europe), the 66-page soft cover 'Guidelines for Lifting Operations' (IMCA SEL 019 and IMCA M 187) has a useful list of definitions; an introduction that outlines objectives to ensure safe lifting operations; sections on summary of guidance; personnel; categorisation of lift - routine or non-routine; operational planning; inspection, examination and marking of lifting equipment; maintenance; record keeping; and a list of related IMCA publications.

    There is also an appendix that features a job risk assessment form and worked examples of a number of key documents.

    Hard copies of the new publication are available online at; from IMCA at 5 Lower Belgrave Street, London SW1W 0NR, UK. Tel: 020 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0)20 7824 5521; Email:


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