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Fatality during unpacking of heavy electrical panel equipment

What happened?

Step Change UK report a fatal incident which occurred during the unpacking of heavy electrical equipment on an offshore production platform. A Variable Speed Drive electrical panel, weighing 1500 kg, was being unpacked from its transit packaging, when the unit fell forward, trapping and killing one of the work party.

The unit was contained within an export type storage package, with removable sides and ends and retaining batons on the long horizontal sides. It was during the removal of these elements that the panel fell forward.

What lessons were learnt? What actions were taken?

Step Change notes:

  • Ensure risks have been suitably risk assessed to “as low as reasonably practicable” and that control measures are being effectively implemented;
  • All persons interacting with potentially unstable equipment should ensure that they have an escape route identified in the event that the equipment should become unstable and move or fall suddenly;
  • All persons should STOP THE JOB if they consider the risk of potentially unstable equipment has not been suitably risk assessed, or if control measures are inadequate or are not being effectively implemented.

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