High Value Learning
  • Published: 16 Nov 2023

High Value Learning - Lifting Bridle Master Link Failures (updated 22/11/23)


Description of Incident

This high value learning may be of interest to:

  • Duty Holders
  • Contracting companies
  • Lifting teams
  • Supply Chain
  • Shipping and logistic companies
  • Manufacturers of Cargo Carrying units (CCUs)
  • Lifting equipment manufacturers, providers and end users

During cargo handling operations there was a requirement to move a full tank of chemicals weighing 4.7te to a decanting area.

The crane pennant was attached to the fully certified master link of the tank lifting bridle and the Crane Operator began taking the weight.

Whilst the crane was taking the weight the master link parted at the weld resulting in the crane pennant load hook becoming detached from the load.

The tank did not leave the deck at any point as the full weight had not been taken by the crane (3te was indicated by the Crane MIPEG at the time of failure).

Pro-active NDT of other TOTE Tank lifting assembly master links has highlighted a sufficient quantity of crack-like indications on or around the weld areas to warrant the introduction of further control measures whilst the situation is being investigated and fully understood.

Update 22/11/23

Following the initial High Value Learning release on the 16th November by Step Change in Safety, subsequent NDE testing of master link assemblies cross industry has provided a clearer picture of the wider situation.

As a result of this a meeting was held on the 21st November, this was attended by representatives from duty holders, shipping logistic companies, lifting equipment providers, inspection bodies and the regulator to determine the next course of action whilst we await the metallurgy reports for the failed master link and others master links that have indications of cracks present.

It was agreed by those present that industry should be advised to take a precautionary approach until the results of the metallurgical examinations have been completed. This should be to consider carrying out NDE testing of all chemical tank (Tote Tank) lifting bridle master link & sub link assemblies.

Some things to consider:

  • When shipping Tote Tanks (chemical, Heli-fuel, empty etc.) to an offshore asset they should be accompanied by an NDE test certificate for the lifting bridle master link & sub links which has been carried out within 6 months of the intended shipping date. This applies to Tote tanks only, containers, baskets, half heights etc. are excluded.
  • All Tote Tanks (chemical, Heli-fuel, empty etc.) that are being shipped from an offshore asset should be accompanied by an NDE test report for the lifting bridle master link & sub links which has been carried out prior to being backloaded.
  • If the Tote Tank did not arrive onboard with a valid NDE certificate carried out within the last 6 months an NDE test report should be completed. This applies to Tote tanks only, containers, baskets, half heights etc. are excluded
  • Sites which do not have NDE testing capability onboard should consider changing out the lifting bridle for with a verified and certified replacement sourced via the Tote Tank owner prior to backloading.

Consider holding time out for safety sessions with all lifting operations teams to remind them to:

  • Ensure pre & post use close visual inspections are carried out on master link assemblies.
  • Ensure that lifting bridle main master link is correctly orientated whilst attached to the load hook to prevent any side loading of the master link.
  • Remain at a safe distance from any loads that are being lifted / lowered.
  • Always have an escape route.
  • Always ensure that the load path is clear of personnel before manoeuvring the load.
  • Always expect the unexpected as a lifting operation can go wrong at any time and without warning.

Rate this highValueLearning

Average Rating

Latest Alerts & Moments

Our searchable catalogue of hundreds of Safety Alerts and Safety Moments are all designed as learning resources that can help improve workplace safety.