Re-spooling line onto a winch - Safety Moment

Print this pagePrint this page
Safety Moment Safety Moment Safety MomentSafety MomentSafety Moment
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Alert ID: 
Description of Process: 

A wire was being re-spooled neatly onto a winch drum after work had been completed. 

Description of Incident: 

The man's left hand was caught by a broken wire and pulled towards the drum.  

Good Practice Guidance: 

It's important to stay vigilant when working and recognise when people are exposing themselves to additional risks as a result of their actions.  

Causes and consequences of incident or accident: 
Moving machinery or material being machined
Handling, lifting or carrying
Trapped or crushed
Contributing factor: 
Control of work


I have to admit, I have no personal experience of this operation so I may be missing something; however, I can't be the only one thinking there must be a better way to achieve this task. Simply relying on another person being vigilant doesn't sound like the most robust approach. Can't the guy standing at the winch have the ability to stop the winch e.g. a local stop button or foot pedal etc. If not, then could the slot in the winch guard be made narrower with a stop bar fitted above and bellow the slot.



There are at least two very effective and better therefore safer alternatives to the method employed here. First a winch should be set up in such a manner that the "fleet angle" achieved between the winch drum and the first sheave is such that this neat manner of spooling the wire is automatically achieved; no need for any hands on. This should be the first choice and consideration. Second if the winch is set up in a location where the natural fleet angle cannot be achieved then the winch should be equipped with an automatic spooling device. This device moves from side to side across the winch drum and spools the wire neatly; once again no need for any hands on. In my opinion this task was very poorly planned and the accident was totally preventable. I am presuming this task was being carried out at the end of another task or it was a "tidy up" operation. In either case it was not properly planned or risk assessed as I do not believe that anyone would consider this method as being ALARP.  I would also question the competence of those involved, and finally I would question their Supervision, why did they allow this to take place, someone must have told them to do it.

This is surely a case of poor communication and complacency.  I am the same as Matt that I have no experience in this field of work but surely there is a safer way to carry out this task. Great for using in safety meetings tho. This will get some good discussions going. A great tool from Step change well done.