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BSEE: Are your emergency procedures and your emergency equipment good enough?

The United States Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has published Safety Alert 469 relating to readiness for medical evacuation and dealing with emergency hazards.

What happened

An inspection of offshore sites in the Gulf of Mexico revealed:

  • Inconsistencies in the documentation and recording of injuries and illnesses;
  • Procedural gaps and possible flaws in working practices;
  • Problems with medical support and evacuation resources,
  • All which could affect the emergency response capabilities of facilities.  

What went wrong

The BSEE found that:

  • It took an average of 6.8 hours, according to the evacuation reports, from the time an incident occurred to the time evacuees arrived at medical facilities;
  • Medical supplies for facility personnel were inadequate;
  • Offshore workers did not know where first aid kits were located or how to properly use them;
  • Emergency action plans were out of date, difficult for workers to find, and contained incorrect contact information. In some instances, the plan was only known to the person in charge;
  • Many operators could not show proof they had carried out medical emergency drills on a regular basis, even though it was a requirement;
  • Several facilities had equipment obstructing high-traffic areas, creating trip hazards, blocking escape routes, and posing safety risks;
  • Rescue baskets (“Stokes litters”) were found inoperable at several facilities, inconveniently located, unsuitable for hoisting during emergencies, and rarely included in drills;
  • Although all facilities except one had automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), the equipment was not easily accessible, and only medical staff had been trained on proper use of AEDs.

What to do next

The BSEE recommended:

  • Have a review and update of medical evacuation procedures, confirming the accuracy of all details, including personnel information, service providers, contact phone numbers, and related data;
  • Ensure all crew are fully aware of the contents of emergency plans;
  • Ensure robust quality checks and inventory management of emergency, first aid and medical equipment and supplies, including checking:
  • Ensure robust quality checks and inventory management of emergency, first aid and medical equipment and supplies, including checking:
    • Expiration dates of medicines and other materials;
    • Evacuation chairs, rescue baskets, Stokes litters, stretchers etc;
    • Defibrillators.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 12 February 2024
Download: IMCA SF 03/24

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