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Fatality: swinging load incident

A member has reported the following fatality which occurred during movement of drill pipes. Personnel were engaged in the task of lifting bundles of 12cm drill pipe by crane from the pipe rack to the adjacent catwalk, for eventual placement on the rig floor. During one lift, a bundle (comprising nine joints) weighing over 2,600kg began to swing horizontally. One individual attempted to manually stop the horizontal movement of the bundle but was pushed backward by its momentum to a pipe rack post which prevented any further backward movement. Trapped between the swinging bundle and the pipe rack post, the employee was struck in the chest by the load. The resulting injuries were fatal.

The resulting investigation identified the following:

  • No job safety analysis (JSA) had been performed for the task;
  • The employee had only four days of experience offshore and had not been formally trained for the task;
  • The immediate supervisor had not been made aware of this lack of training;
  • Previous performance problems exhibited by the employee had not been properly handled;
  • The contractor had no policy against participation in rigging operations without formal rigger training;
  • The operator’s contractor selection procedure had not included review of the contractor’s safety policy, and the operator had given no clear safety directives for company representatives on site.

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